Roman Gabriel Dies: L.A. Rams Quarterback And Former MVP Was 83

Roman Gabriel Dies: L.A. Rams Quarterback And Former MVP Was 83

Roman Gabriel, who still holds the Los Angeles Rams team record with 154 touchdown passes, died Saturday at his home in Little River, South Carolina, at 83. His death came from natural causes, according to his son, Roman Gabriel III.

Gabriel was the No. 2 draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1962 out of North Carolina State. He was the first Filipino-American quarterback in the NFL and the league MVP in 1969.

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He played in four Pro Bowl games, three with the Rams in the late 1960s and another with the Eagles in 1973. But he reached the postseason only twice, and his Rams were eliminated in the first round both times.

“We mourn the loss of Rams legend and football pioneer, Roman Gabriel,” the Rams said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Gabriel was a two-time player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference for North Carolina State. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.

He played 11 years for the Rams and five years with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was traded after the Rams acquired John Hadl.

“Gabe was an amazing player and an even better mentor. Words can’t explain my thanks for what a great teammate he was,” retired quarterback Ron Jaworski, whom Gabriel backed up on the Eagles in his final season, posted on X. “A special player and a better man!”

From 1967 to 1970, Gabriel led the Rams to a 41-14-4 record and two division titles, though never a playoff game. He was voted MVP in 1969 after throwing for 2,549 yards with 24 touchdown passes and five rushing scores.

Gabriel was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973. There he was the NFL comeback player of the year, leading the league with 23 touchdown passes and 3,219 yards.

After retiring, Gabriel worked briefly for CBS, calling NFL games.

He went into coaching, with stints at Cal Poly Pomona, the Boston Breakers of the USFL, and Raleigh-Durham in the World League of American Football.

Gabriel also was an actor. His movie credits included Skidoo, starring Jackie Gleason in 1968, and 1969’s The Undefeated, starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson. He appeared in such TV shows as Gilligan’s Island, Perry Mason, Ironside and Wonder Woman. He also joined Bob Hope on a USO tour of Vietnam.


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