ALAMEDA -- The Raiders mourned the loss of former tight end Todd Christensen, who died in surgery on Wednesday morning. He was 57.
Christensen was a extremely popular among Raider Nation and the alumni community, as much for his play as his personality.
General manager Reggie McKenzie played with Christensen from 1987-88, and remembers that time fondly.
“I am deeply saddened to hear the news about the passing of my former teammate Todd Christensen,” McKenzie said in a statement released by the team. “Todd was a special player and an exemplary teammate and I cherished our time together as Raiders. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Raider family are with the Christensen family in this time of mourning.”
Christensen is the best tight end in Raiders history, and has a pair of Super Bowl rings to show for it. He played for the Raiders from 1979-88, when he had 5,872 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. He led the NFL in receptions twice and set a league record for catches over a three-season span.
Christensen played most of his Raiders career under legendary head coach Tom Flores, who fondly recalled the evolution of a young player turned into a offensive force.
“Todd was an excellent football player and was prolific in the passing game,” Flores said. “He was a hybrid tight end, an H-back before it became a football term. He started out as a special teamer and was named our special teams captain right away while playing behind Raymond Chester and Dave Casper. He then helped us win Super Bowls.”
Christensen was also a character. The BYU alum was an erudite fellow with a big vocabulary who wasn’t afraid to use it.
“I remember Todd as always using big words and quoting famous authors and poets,” Flores said. “He was comical at times, because no one knew what he was talking about. I hadn’t seen much of him lately but miss the fun, great times we all shared as a Raider family.”
In line image of Todd Christensen provided by The Associated Press