ESPN extends thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of our former colleague, Todd Christensen. A five-time Pro Bowl tight end who won two Super Bowls with the Raiders, Christensen died Wednesday from complications during liver transplant surgery. He was 57.
A 10-year NFL standout, Christensen played 136 of his 137 career games for the Raiders and led the league in single-season receptions twice before retiring after the 1988 campaign. In 1995, the former BYU star joined ESPN as a college football commentator for several years.
SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy, a former play-by-play partner of Christensen’s at ESPN, hailed his friend on Twitter:
Todd Christensen, my old CFB pbp partner passed away today at 57. ONE of smartest people I’ve ever met, football & otherwise. Should be HOF
— Steve Levy (@espnSteveLevy) November 13, 2013
Christensen was noted for his vocabulary, as his former Raiders teammate and current ESPN college football analyst Matt Millen recalled.
“All you’d have to say was, `Todd, will you just shut up? Give me a $2 word instead of a $10 word,'” Millen told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “Todd would just laugh.”
Former BYU star and current ESPN NFL analyst Steve Young said of Christensen: “Todd was a great friend and a man of great faith. He was an innovator at the tight end position as a dynamic pass catcher. I loved his unique perspectives on the games of football and life. ”
ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich, another former BYU star, remembers Christensen in the video below.