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Bill Tobin, longtime NFL executive, dies at age 83

Longtime NFL general manager and scout, Bill Tobin, has died, the Bengals announced on Friday. He was 83.

Tobin spent 27 years as an executive with the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions. He rounded out his successful career as an area scout for the Cincinnati Bengals the past two decades, working alongside his son, Duke Tobin, the team's director of player personnel since 1999.

"He was a true NFL success story," said Bengals principal owner and president Mike Brown in a statement, via the team's official website. "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."

Duke Tobin's pre-draft news conference scheduled for Friday was cancelled following the announcement of his father's death.

Bill Tobin was instrumental in building the Bears' famed 1985 team that went 18-1 en route to winning Super Bowl XX before landing the franchise's director of player personnel role in 1987. His first draft pick under that title was quarterback Jim Harbaugh, the current head of coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. Bill Tobin was at the helm in Chicago until 1992, overseeing a Bears team that made four playoff appearances in that span.

From 1994-1996, Tobin served as the Colts' GM and built a team that made an unlikely run to the AFC Championship Game in 1995. He selected Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Marvin Harrison during that stint, but his first-round selection of Trev Alberts during the 1994 NFL Draft brought a memorable moment that perhaps changed the viewing experience of the draft forever.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper instantly criticized Tobin's selection of Alberts, and in a follow-up interview with the late Chris Mortensen on the broadcast, Tobin famously asked, "Who in the hell is Mel Kiper anyway?"

"A sad day with the passing of Bill Tobin, an accomplished front office executive who made the NFL a better league during his decorated career," Kiper said on social media Friday. "Kim and I send our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones."

During his 11 seasons as a GM/director of player personnel, Tobin selected 10 Pro Bowlers and two Hall of Fame players in addition to his time with the Bears in the 1980s. Tobin also had a hand in identifying notable players during his time in Cincinnati, recommending the selection of longtime defensive tackle Geno Atkins and cross-checking the Bengals' recent selections of QB Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.

Tobin began his NFL scouting career with the Packers in 1971 under the staff of then-head coach Dan Devine, who was his coach at the University of Missouri. Tobin was selected by the Houston Oilers as a running back out of college in the 1963 AFL Draft, accruing 444 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in his only season as a pro.

Tobin's brother, Vince Tobin, also had a notable career in the NFL, serving as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 1996-2000.

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