HomeSportsRoman Gabriel, the first Filipino American NFL player, dead at 83

Roman Gabriel, the first Filipino American NFL player, dead at 83

Roman Gabriel, the first Filipino American to play in the National Football League, is dead at 83. Gabriel was a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams and later the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gabriel’s son Roman Gabriel III announced Saturday morning that his father had passed away of natural causes.

According to The Athletic, the Los Angeles Rams also issued their own statement confirming Gabriel’s death and offering their condolences.

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

Gabriel played for NC State from 1959-1961, CBS Sports reports. In 1962, he was the No. 1 overall pick in the AFL draft No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Gabriel chose to play in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, passing up on the Oakland Raiders who had selected him in the AFL draft.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Gabriel played for the Rams until 1972 and still holds the record for “touchdown passes, 154; passes thrown, 3,313, and victories by a starting quarterback, 74.”

Gabriel was a skillful quarterback who could easily throw the ball 70 yards. In 1969, he was named NFL MVP, The Athletic reports.

In 1973, Gabriel was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after his career with the Rams appeared to be dwindling. According to CBS Sports, that season he was named “Comeback Player of the Year,” leading the NFL in completions, passing yards and touchdown passes.

Gabriel retired as a player in 1977 and went on to coach at Cal Poly Pomona from 1980 to 1982. He also had a successful career in broadcasting and acting.

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