Roman Gabriel, NFL’s first Filipino American quarterback, dies at 83

Roman Gabriel, NFL’s first Filipino American quarterback, dies at 83Roman Gabriel, NFL’s first Filipino American quarterback, dies at 83
via Chapman Sports Live, NFL X FILES
Roman Gabriel, the groundbreaking former football star who made history as the first Filipino American quarterback in the NFL, has died at 83.
Key points:
  • Gabriel’s son, Roman Gabriel III, announced the former NFL star’s death in a Facebook post on Sunday, writing in part that his father “passed away peacefully this morning of natural causes at his home.”
  • His first NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, extended its condolences to Gabriel’s family in a post on X, writing, “We mourn the loss of Rams legend and football pioneer, Roman Gabriel.”
View post on X
The details:
  • Gabriel’s illustrious career spanned 16 years, during which he played 11 years for the Los Angeles Rams. He was the No. 2 pick of the Rams during the NFL draft in 1962.
  • Gabriel led the Rams to two division titles with a record of 41-14-4 during his time with the team between 1967 and 1970. He was later traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973, where he played for five years.
  • Throughout his career, Gabriel played in 183 games, making 157 starts. He finished with 29,444 passing yards, 201 touchdowns and 149 interceptions.
  • Gabriel made his mark as a standout player, earning accolades such as the NFL MVP in 1969 with the Rams for throwing 2,549 yards with 24 touchdown passes and five rushing scores. He was also named the NFL comeback player of the year when he led the Eagles with 23 touchdown passes and 3,219 yards.
  • Before joining the NFL, Gabriel played at NC State University. He was a two-time player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
  • Aside from being the first Filipino American quarterback in the NFL, Gabriel also held multiple records during his college football career, including the distinction of being the first ACC quarterback to pass for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.
About the star:
  • Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Aug. 5, 1940, Gabriel went on to pursue various endeavors after his NFL stint, such as coaching and calling NFL games for CBS, as well as working with the Carolina Panthers Radio Network for seven seasons.
  • He also appeared in multiple movies and TV shows, such as in the 1969 Western war film “The Undefeated,” starring John Wayne, and the sitcom show “Gilligan’s Island.”
  • Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in December 2021, Gabriel shared that he had been living in Wilmington and Little River in South Carolina during his retirement, adding, “I am retired with heart problems and arthritis but happy.”
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