Former National Football League defensive end Chris Mims, who played at Dorsey High School and Los Angeles Southwest Junior College, was found dead today in his Los Angeles apartment. He was 38 years old.
Police found Mims this morning alone in his house. The cause of death was unknown at press time but early reports indicated that it was not the result of foul play.
Mims spent eight years in the National Football League, seven with the San Diego Chargers (1992-1996, 1998-99) and one with the Washington Redskins (1997). But to those who know him best at home, his legacy started at Dorsey where he made his mark as a dominating defensive end.
After graduating in 1989, five months before the team would win their first City Section championship, he attended L.A. Pierce College before going to Southwest where he became the first player in school history to be named 1st Team All-American from the Junior College Gridwire.
He transferred to Tennessee after his sophomore year where he registered 90 tackles and 9.5 sacks in his two-year career. He was named to the All-SEC First Team in his senior year and graduated with a degree in psychology and criminal justice.
The Chargers drafted him in the first round (23rd overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft and Mims made an immediate impact, registering 10 sacks (leading all rookies), 53 tackles and a safety while appearing in every game.
His best year came in 1994 when he registered 11 sacks and led the Chargers to the team’s lone Super Bowl appearance in 1995. He retired from in 2000 with 42 career sacks and eight fumble recoveries in 104 games.
The news came as a shock to Dorsey this morning as calls poured from alumni and friends of the school. Head coach Paul Knox was in disbelief after he was told by freshman/sophomore football coach Irvin Davis.
With heaviness in his tone, Knox remembered Mims as not just an outstanding player who worked hard, but a beloved supporter who never tired of giving back, whether it was working out with players or donating to the school.
“He was a very proud alumnus devoted to our program,” Knox said, still in disbelief. “It was not only what he did while he was here, but the things he did after he left that showed his continued support for our program.
Mims was one of the first of Knox’s players to find NFL success, a list that includes Keyshawn Johnson, Lamont Warren, Dennis Northcutt and Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar (formerly Sharmon Shah).
Plans were underway at the school to pay tribute to Mims in the coming weeks and will be revealed at a later date.