Former Bears, Colts GM Bill Tobin dies at 83

Field Level Media

April 19, 2024 at 5:18 pm.

Longtime NFL executive Bill Tobin, a former general manager of the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts, has died at the age of 83.

He later worked as a scout from 2003-22 for the Cincinnati Bengals, who announced Tobin’s passing on Friday.

“He was a true NFL success story,” Bengals president Mike Brown said. “He was a good person and I considered him a good friend. With Bill, I respected everything he said. I just took it as a given. He had an eye for players and what they would develop into. If he said the guy was a good player, then he was a good player; that’s all I would need to know. We will miss him.”

Tobin served as GM of the Bears from 1987-92 and held the same role with the Colts from 1994-96. He was the Detroit Lions’ director of player personnel from 2001-02.

“Rest in peace, Bill Tobin, our GM from ’94-96,” Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter. “Bill was a tough, old-time football man, starting as a player in the old AFL. He lived a magical life associated with the game he loved, and our league will miss him. My love and prayers for Bill’s family.”

During his 27 years in NFL front offices with Chicago, Indianapolis and Detroit, Tobin’s teams drafted eight future Hall of Famers, according to the Bengals’ news release. That includes two Colts’ first-rounders, running back Marshall Faulk in 1994 and receiver Marvin Harrison in 1996.

Tobin’s son, Duke, has been the Bengals’ director of player personnel since 1999.

Tobin’s brother, Vince, was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 1996-2000.

Bill Tobin was a running back at Missouri and was drafted in the 14th round by the San Francisco 49ers in 1963. He played in 10 games (eight starts) with the Houston Oilers in 1963, rushing for 271 yards and four touchdowns and catching 13 passes for 173 yards and one score.

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