PASSINGS: Ed Sprinkle, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell

Ed Sprinkle, Chicago Bears defensive end known as “the meanest man in football,” dies at 90

Ed Sprinkle

Defensive end for Chicago Bears in '40s and '50s

Ed Sprinkle, 90, a star defensive end for the Chicago Bears in the 1940s and `50s who was called the "meanest man" in football, died July 28 in the Chicago suburb of Palos Heights, his family said.

Sprinkle played for the Bears from 1944 to 1955 under Coach George Halas, including the 1946 NFL championship team. He was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1940s.

Despite weighing only 200 pounds, Sprinkle was labeled the "meanest man" in football in a Collier's magazine article in 1950. Nicknamed "The Claw" for using his forearm to deliver blows to opponents, he leveled plenty of quarterbacks, although it was hard to say how many because he played long before sack statistics were kept.

"I never really played dirty football in my life," Sprinkle said in a story on the Bears' website. "But I'd knock the hell out of a guy if I got the chance."

Sprinkle was born Sept. 3, 1923, in Bradshaw, Texas. He played college football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and at the U.S. Naval Academy, and he served in the U.S. Navy. He went into the carpeting and tile business after football and also owned a bowling alley.

Brenda Marsh-Mitchell

Activist for L.A.'s African American community

Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, 67, an activist who worked with several nonprofit organizations that served the African American community in Los Angeles, died Sunday of cardiac arrest at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital after emergency surgery for an intestinal disorder, said Danny Bakewell Jr., executive editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Marsh-Mitchell was assistant to the executive publisher of the Sentinel, Danny Bakewell Sr.

She was president and chief executive of Mothers in Action, which held an annual back-to-school event at which students from ages 5 to 15 could get health screenings, immunizations, school supplies and even haircuts, all at no cost.

"Kids fail because they cannot see, they fail because they cannot hear or they fail because they do not have the tools they need to succeed," she said in a Sentinel article before the 2013 event. "There is no service we provide to our community more important than making sure our young people have all the necessary tools and equipment they will need to secure a quality education."

Marsh-Mitchell was born in Los Angeles on April 13, 1947. She attended Jefferson High School and earned her diploma through the continuation program at Tracy High School in Cerritos.

She was a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the director of community relations for the Brotherhood Crusade, which sponsors a variety of programs. Working with that group, she organized an event that provided food for the homeless and she helped organize local participants for the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.

— Times staff and wire reports

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