Former BYU running back Todd Christensen dies


Former BYU running back Todd Christensen, who later went on to win two Super Bowls as a tight end with the Oakland Raiders, passed away Nov. 13 after complications from surgery.

Christensen, who was 57, was dealing with lingering liver issues.

Christensen played for the Cougars from 1974 to 1977 and led the team in receiving for three straight years. He finished his career at BYU with 153 receptions for 1,568 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Christensen’s head coach, BYU legend LaVell Edwards, commented on the legacy Christensen left behind at BYU.

“Not only was he a great player, he created a legacy,” Edwards said. “I don’t know of anybody that has ever left an imprint on a university like Todd did.”

After Christensen’s career at BYU, he was selected in the second round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys.  After dealing with injuries his first years in the NFL, Christensen was signed by the Raiders and became a fixture on special teams.

During the 1982 season Christensen broke out as a reliable target at tight end, catching 42 passes for 510 yards and making four touchdowns. The next year Christensen led the NFL with 92 receptions, earning him his first of five trips to the Pro Bowl.  Christensen was only the second tight end at the time to have led the league in receptions.

Christensen finished his NFL career with 461 catches for 5,872 yards and 41 touchdowns. The 349 passes he caught between the 1983–86 seasons set an NFL record.

Christensen provided color commentary for ESPN and The Mountain network after his retirement from the NFL. He was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1992.

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