The Kansas City Chiefs are grieving the loss of longtime Chiefs equipment manager Bobby Yarborough, who passed away Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at the age of 76.
“Our family and the Chiefs organization are saddened by the passing of Bobby Yarborough,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said.
“Bobby was a loyal, hardworking member of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise and served as the team’s equipment manager for more than two decades. Bobby was with the franchise in the beginning, starting with the Dallas Texans in 1960, before making the move to Kansas City in 1963. Both my brother, Lamar Jr., and I had the pleasure of working directly for Bobby during our high school years as ball boys on his staff for Chiefs Training Camp at William Jewell College. He made many contributions to the organization over his tenure and his efforts will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time.”
While team equipment manager may have been Yarborough's title with the Chiefs, including the Super Bowl winning team in 1969, he also benefited the team in other areas.
“Bobby Yarborough was our equipment manager, plus he was part-time trainer too, because he would always tape the ankles on any given day in practice and ballgames; so, he was probably the jack of all trades,” said former Chiefs G Ed Budde. “He was one of the family. We were one big happy family really, with Lamar Hunt and Hank Stram and all the other coaches.”
Yarborough’s many skills were very much appreciated by the Chiefs, including Pro Football Hall of Fame LB Bobby Bell.
“He was just a great guy; to be equipment man, he worked his butt off for us. He made sure everything was in place for us. He was one of us,” Bell said. “It’s amazing what he would do; I would let no one else tape my ankles but Bobby Yarborough.”
Among the many benefits Yarborough provided the Chiefs, perhaps none is more recognized than the specially-designed helmet of Pro Football Hall of Fame LB Willie Lanier.
A second-round draft choice in 1967, the hard-hitting Lanier missed the final few games of his rookie campaign because of subdural hematoma.
“Bobby Yarborough did something for me as an equipment manager that lives on for both of us,” Lanier said.
“My helmet from my first year is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because it had a built-up center that Bobby attempted to provide me (as) a way to have a lesser blow that could occur, because I had subdural hematoma my first year in Kansas City; so, his (Yarborough's) work is in the Hall of Fame.”
Yarborough didn't care for anything more than his family, including the Chiefs.
“He was a consummate professional in his task, in his role as part of the whole, that allowed us to uniquely be who we became,” Lanier stated.
“He’s a part of the whole.”