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Freddie Mitchell
Position(s)
Wide Receiver
Jersey #(s)
84
Born November 28, 1978 (1978-11-28) (age 31)
Lakeland, Florida
Career information
Year(s) 20012005
NFL Draft 2001 / Round: 1 / Pick: 25
College UCLA
Professional teams
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career stats
Receptions 90
Receiving Yards 1,263
Touchdowns 5
Stats at NFL.com
Career highlights and awards
  • N/A

Freddie Lee Mitchell (born November 28, 1978 in Lakeland, Florida) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League who most recently played for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played high school football at Kathleen High School, and college football at the University of California, Los Angeles and was drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft.

Contents

College career

Mitchell was a political science major at UCLA. In addition to playing football for the Bruins, he also played baseball where he was teammates with future Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. He introduced him to his future wife, Jennifer Cooper.[1]

Mitchell, even then, was eager for attention. He played dumb in the Jay Leno Tonight Show segment "Jaywalking" about U.S. Presidents. Mitchell knew that if he purposely got the answers wrong, he would be more likely to be shown on the program. So Mitchell, a political science and history student, pretended to say that Benjamin Franklin was the first President when asked to name him.[2][3]

Professional career

Freddie Mitchell came to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001 as a first round pick. Difficulty in learning the complex Philadelphia playbook limited him in the first season. The Eagles hoped Mitchell would break out in 2002 but, instead, he only caught twelve passes for 105 yards over the whole season. It was after this dismal performance, despite having the benefit of Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb passing to him, that the utterings of "bust" first began to be heard.

Perhaps Freddie's biggest on-field contribution came on January 11, 2004, in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers. Late in the game, with the Eagles losing by three points and facing a 4th and 26 situation, Mitchell caught a 28 yard pass for a first down. The Eagles would tie the score on the same drive, and eventually win the game in overtime.

With the Eagles' acquisition of wide receiver Terrell Owens, Mitchell's production dipped slightly in 2004, when he had 22 receptions. During this time, he began to openly voice his frustration over the limited role he continued to play in the Eagles' offense. His most notable catch of the season was a 60-yard reception during the Eagles' November 15, 2004, Monday Night Football game against the Dallas Cowboys. This catch is remembered primarily for the manner in which McNabb extended the play by eluding the Cowboys' pass rush for 14.1 seconds before eventually throwing to Mitchell.[citation needed]

Super Bowl controversy

The Eagles finished 13-3 and earned a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX, where they were to play the AFC Champion New England Patriots. During the week leading up to the game, Mitchell sat for a short ESPN interview conducted by Dan Patrick. Asked to identify the members of the Patriots' secondary, Mitchell claimed he didn't know them by name, only by number, and then deliberately stated each of their numbers incorrectly. Normally tight-lipped coach Bill Belichick later said of Mitchell, "[a]ll he does is talk. He's terrible, and you can print that. I was happy when he was in the game."[4]

However, after the Super Bowl, he continued to sound off in interviews where he criticized McNabb, Owens, and the New England Patriots as well as their head coach, Bill Belichick, saying that the way they reacted reminded him of "little girls". Mitchell said he felt that if he had gotten the ball more they would have won. "Owens and Donovan must not have wanted to win the game" said Mitchell. He said that the Eagles would beat them eight out of ten times, that Owens took away from his opportunities that season, and that he and McNabb didn't have any chemistry on the field.

Football career after Philadelphia

After being released from the Eagles on May 5, 2005, Mitchell then signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, who subsequently released him September 3, 2005[citation needed]. On August 6, 2006 Mitchell worked out for the Dallas Cowboys, but they did not make a contract offer.[citation needed] Mitchell tried out for the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, October 11, 2006.[citation needed] Later, Mitchell worked out for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League on February 11, 2007.[5]

According to sports blog Deadspin on November 27, 2006, Mitchell served as a substitute teacher at Mishawaka High School in Mishawaka, Indiana.[6]

According to The Baltimore Sun newspaper, Mitchell worked out for the Baltimore Ravens on May 29, 2008.

Summer of 2008 Mitchell returned to his hometown of Lakeland, Florida and bought a local barbecue restaurant called "Brothers". In February of 2009, Mitchell was under investigation when a package containing 7 pounds of marijuana was delivered to his business. Mitchell was briefly detained, but was not charged.[7] As of September 3, 2009, the restaurant was closed and Mitchell was named in a suit for failure to make payments on the business. [8]

In December of 2009, Mitchell was pulled over for speeding in suburban Philadelphia. Due to an outstanding warrant for failure to pay child support, he was arrested on charges of being a fugitive from justice, and was later released on $250,000 bail.[9]

Mitchell and the media

In an effort to apparently garner media attention, Mitchell tried to bestow upon himself several nicknames. These include, The People's Champ (of which he had a belt, similar to the World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE's championship belts, made), The Sultan of Slot, First Down Freddie, Fourth Down Freddie, Hollywood, 4th and 26 Freddie, Puppetmaster, and FredEx (claiming he "always delivers", a nickname shared with Freddy Sanchez).

He has also appeared at a press conference wearing oven mitts to protect his hands. At the press conference he said "I'd like to thank my hands for being so great."

References








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