Bobby Beathard, who spent more than three decades as an NFL executive, has died at the age of 86.
His death on Monday was from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, his son Casey told The Washington Post.
A 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee as a contributor, Beathard was a personnel executive for five teams in his career, including Super Bowl champions in Miami and Washington. He was part of 10 division winners and four Super Bowl winners overall, including the 1972 Dolphins team that finished undefeated.
His greatest success occurred in Washington, where he served as general manager from 1978 to 1988. Beathard hired coach Joe Gibbs in 1981 and drafted Hall of Famers Art Monk, Russ Grimm and Darrell Green. Washington won the Super Bowl in 1982 and 1987.
“Bobby was a man of extraordinary class and integrity and was the architect behind the greatest teams in this organization’s history. He cared deeply about everyone he worked with and always put the team first. Bobby is rightfully enshrined in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Washington Ring of Fame and will go down as one of the greatest executives in NFL history,” the Commanders said in a statement. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Christine, children Kurt, Casey, Jeff and Jaime along with the entire Beathard family. Bobby’s impact on our franchise and community will never be forgotten.”
After leaving Washington, Beathard served as general manager for the Chargers from 1990 to 1999. Though Beathard was criticized for picking draft bust quarterback Ryan Leaf with the No. 2 overall selection in 1998 and trading away first-round picks, he helped turn the Chargers around. In his third season as general manager, the Chargers won their first division title since 1981. They made the franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance during the 1994 season, losing to the San Francisco 49ers.
“Bobby was one of the best judges of football talent in NFL history. For most, that alone would be enough. For Bobby Beathard, it doesn’t nearly do the man justice,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. “Bobby was who we all aspire to be — a friendly, caring, giving, thoughtful human being who brought people from all walks of life together. He was the best GM in football; but he was also the guy sitting on his surfboard in the ocean that you caught waves with, jogged trails alongside and chatted up in the check-out line of the local market. He was the guy you felt like you’d known your entire life, even if it wasn’t but for five minutes at the gas station. He was just a regular guy who happened to be anything but.
“Bobby was, in fact, exceptional. He was one-of-a-kind. And he will be incredibly missed. On behalf of my family and the Chargers organization, we want to extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Christine, and the entire Beathard family on the loss of one of the best to ever do it, be it football or life.”
Beathard served as director of player personnel for Miami’s Super Bowl-winning teams in 1972 and 1973. He also worked for Kansas City and Atlanta before joining Miami.
He retired from football in 2000, and he is a member of the Ring of Fame for both the Commanders and Chargers.