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Bobby Beathard, former Chargers GM who oversaw team's only Super Bowl appearance, dies at 86

Bobby Beathard
Alex Brandon
File photo of former Washington Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard posing with his Hall of Fame trophy during halftime of an NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Washington Redskins, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Maryland.

Bobby Beathard, who was the general manager for the San Diego Chargers for 10 years and spent more than three decades as an NFL executive, has died from complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to media reports. He was 86.

Beathard died on Monday at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, his son Casey told the Washington Post.

Beathard was the general manager of the San Diego Chargers from 1990 to 1999 and oversaw the team to its only Super Bowl appearance in 1994, when the team lost to the San Francisco 49ers. In his third season with the Chargers, the team won its first division title since 1981.


He is also known for drafting quarterback Ryan Leaf with the No. 2 pick in the 1998 NFL draft and trading away several first-round picks.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos said Beathard 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," 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."

Beathard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 and was an executive with five teams, including the Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins and Washington Commanders.

He retired from football in 2000 and is a member of the Rings of Fame for the Commanders and Chargers.


"Bobby was, in fact, exceptional. He was one-of-a-kind. And he will be incredibly missed," Spanos said. "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 was also an executive for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons before joining the Miami Dolphins. He was the director of player personnel when the Dolphins won Super Bowls in 1972 and 1973.

He was the general manager of the rebranded Washington Commanders from 1978 to 1988 and won Super Bowls with the team in 1982 and 1987.