Former NFL MVP Roman Gabriel dies at age 83

Roman Gabriel, who had a 16-year quarterback career in the NFL with numerous accolades, including winning league MVP in 1969, has died at the age of 83, the Los Angeles Rams organization and his son confirmed via social media.

Gabriel had his greatest success playing for his first team, the Los Angeles Rams, from 1962-72. His 1969 season, in which he led the league with 24 touchdowns passes, resulted in several MVP and player of the year awards, by such organizations as the Associated Press, the UPI, the NEA and the Sporting News.

“We mourn the loss of Rams legend and football pioneer, Roman Gabriel,” the Rams announced. “We extend condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

His fourth and final Pro Bowl appearance came in 1973, his first in Philadelphia playing for the Eagles. That season marked the second season he led the league in touchdown passes with 23. He went on to play four more seasons in Philadelphia.

After a stellar collegiate career at North Carolina State, Gabriel became the top overall selection of the 1962 AFL Draft (Oakland Raiders), but he elected to go play for the Rams instead, who chose him second overall in the NFL Draft.

That choice eventually enabled him to become the Rams’ all-time touchdown passes leader with 154, a distinction he impressively still holds today.

He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989, but has yet to earn that same honor in the pros, despite holding better career numbers than several other inductees, including Bart Starr, who denied Gabriel’s Rams a chance at a Super Bowl championship in 1967.

Gabriel finished with 29,444 yards, 201 touchdowns and 149 interceptions in 183 games (157 starts).

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