Former BYU and NFL star Todd Christensen dies

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Updated: 11/13/2013 2:01 pm

Salt Lake City, UT ( - Former BYU star and NFL tight end Todd Christensen died Wednesday morning. He was 57 years old.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Christensen died while undergoing surgery at a Utah hospital. He had battled liver disease and other illnesses in recent years.

Christensen was a running back at BYU from 1974-77, earning All-WAC honors as a senior. He scored 15 touchdowns for the Cougars and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1992.

As one of the top pass catching tight ends in the NFL, he spent most of his career with the Raiders. He twice led the league in receptions, first in 1983 with 92 and again three years later with 95.

Christensen was a five-time Pro Bowl pick and won Super Bowl titles with the Raiders after the 1980 and 1983 seasons. He finished his career with 461 catches for 5,872 yards with 41 touchdowns in 137 games.

"Todd was an excellent football player and was prolific in the passing game," said former head coach Tom Flores. "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.

"I remember Todd as always using big words and quoting famous authors and poets. 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."

After his career ended in 1988, Christensen worked as a broadcaster. He was an NFL analyst for NBC and most recently worked for the Mountain West Sports Network in the collegiate ranks.

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