- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 12, 2005

The first time Brian Mitchell handled the football as a Washington Redskin, he returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Nine seasons later in his final game as a Redskin, Mitchell also took a kickoff to the house.

Mitchell left the Redskins in 2000 after an acrimonious dispute with owner Dan Snyder and the front office, but he never really left Washington. Although he played the next four seasons for Philadelphia and the New York Giants before closing his career as the most productive kick returner in NFL history, Mitchell’s family remained in Northern Virginia.

With his first coach, Joe Gibbs, back again and with his relationship with club management repaired, Mitchell will re-sign with Washington on Wednesday in order to officially retire as a Redskin at 36.

Mitchell had hoped to play in 2004 after being released by the Giants but went unsigned. Still, the one-time option quarterback at Southwestern Louisiana accumulated 23,330 combined yards, second only to the 23,546 of all-time leading receiver Jerry Rice.

Mitchell led the league in combined yards from 1994 to 1996, joining immortal running backs Jim Brown and Gale Sayers as the only players to do so three straight seasons.

Mitchell holds NFL records for combined kick return yards (19,013), combined kick returns (1,070), combined kick return touchdowns (13), kickoff return yards (14,014), kickoff returns (607), punt return yards (4,999), punt returns (463), and fair catches (231).

The night before Gibbs attends Mitchell’s retirement ceremony, the coach will take questions from fans from 7 to 8 p.m. on WJFK-FM (106.7), the club’s flagship station. Interested fans should tune in that night for more information on how to talk to Gibbs.

Meanwhile, Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, said negotiations with the Redskins on a new contract for the team’s top tackler are “progressing.” Pierce will be a free agent if he’s not re-signed by March 2.

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