Ex-Raiders star TE Christensen dies at 57

Updated: November 13, 2013, 2:07 PM ET

ESPN.com news services

Todd Christensen, a five-time Pro Bowl tight end who played most of his career for the Raiders, died Wednesday at the age of 57.

Brigham Young University, where Christensen starred from 1974-77 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in ’92, said in a tweet that he died from complications from surgery.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that he battled liver disease among other serious illnesses in recent years.

Drafted in the second round of the 1978 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, he was claimed on waivers by the New York Giants in 1978 but played just one game with the team. Christensen played 136 of his 137 career games for the Raiders, winning two Super Bowls (1980, 1983) with the franchise.

He led the NFL in receptions twice (92 in 1982; 95 in ’86) to set, at that time, the NFL record for receptions in a season by a tight end both times. The Cowboys’ Jason Witten holds the current record for receptions in a season by a tight end with 110 in 2012.

Christensen retired after the 1988 season with 461 receptions for 5,872 yards and 41 touchdown catches.

Former Raiders teammate James Lofton was among those to take to Twitter to remember Christensen.

Really sadden to hear about the passing of former teammate Todd Christensen. He was truly great both on and off the field.

— James Lofton (@lofton80) November 13, 2013

He later went on to become a broadcaster on NFL games for NBC in the ’90s and also became a commentator on college football broadcasts, working for ESPN, CBS Sports and the Mountain West Conference’s network.

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