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Lydell Douglas Mitchell (born May 30, 1949, in Salem, New Jerseymarker), is a former professional American football player. He played running back in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers and Los Angeles Rams spanning 1972-1980.


Mitchell played high school football at Salem High Schoolmarker. He was taken in the second round of the 1972 NFL Draft out of Penn State Universitymarker by the Colts with the 48th overall selection. Mitchell was a teammate of Hall of Famemarker running back Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers while at Penn Statemarker, and many actually thought the Steelers were going to draft Mitchell instead of Harris before the draft. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Famemarker in 2004.

Mitchell established himself in the mid-1970s as one of the best all-around running backs in the NFL. Mitchell, along with teammate Bert Jones, propelled the Baltimore Colts to three consecutive AFC East Division titles, unseating a powerhouse Miami Dolphins team that had topped the division for four straight years (1971-74).

Mitchell topped the 1,000-yard rushing plateau in three consecutive seasons (1975-77) earning Pro Bowl honors each year. In addition to his rushing exploits, he twice led the NFL in pass receptions, in 1974 and 1977. Mitchell was named 2nd Team All-Pro in 1976 and 1977 as well as being named 2nd Team All-AFC following the 1975 campaign.

After his successful run in Baltimore, Mitchell was dealt to the San Diego Chargers after the 1977 season. Mitchell turned in a solid season in 1978 with the Dan Fouts-led Chargers and finished his career in 1980 appearing in two games with the Los Angeles Rams.


Mitchell earned a bachelor of science in secondary education from Penn State Universitymarker in 1972.

He lives in Baltimore, Marylandmarker, where he and his Nittany Lion teammate Franco Harris own Super Bakery, a company that produces nutrition-oriented foods for schoolchildren. He and Harris also partnered to rescue the Parks Sausage Company in Baltimoremarker, the first publicly held black-owned business in the United Statesmarker. Mitchell is also active in lecturing students on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Mitchell is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.


  1. Lydell Mitchell, database Football. Accessed February 22, 2008.

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