Remembering An Unusual Man, Todd Christensen - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Good Day LA Executive Producer Josh Kaplan

Remembering An Unusual Man, Todd Christensen

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Spent some time over the weekend going through the garage, and found some old tapes, including interviews with Todd Christensen, the former Raider great who died about 10 days ago.  For those of you who don't remember Todd, he was a 5 time pro bowl player, who might have had a shot at the Hall of Fame, if he hadn't happened to play at the same time as Ozzie Newsome and Kellen Winslow, two guys who totally transformed the tight end position, . Anyway, Todd makes my personal hall of fame for another reason. He was one of the most interesting athletes I ever met.

I spent 5 years producing Roy Firestone's show on ESPN. Todd was our NFL analyst for awhile, and I would touch base with him each Sunday night. We'd talk football for about 10 minutes, then spend another hour or so talking about everything but.  His nickname in the league was Renaissance Man, and it was apt. He was interested in.. everything. He had opinions about.. everything. He was also a hard person to quantify. He was entertaining, and abrasive and funny and arrogant, and warm.. and peevish.  Others have said that he didn't suffer fools easily and that was true. He wasn't the easiest man to like, but I liked him. A lot. When my mom died, Todd brought me an envelope. Inside was a poem he'd written, called "No one gets out alive", and a note that said "If this gives you a moment of peace while you are grieving, then it was worth the risk I take that you will think me an arrogant buffoon for making this gesture."

We lost touch after I stopped producing the show, but a couple years ago I found an email address, and reached out to say hi.. this is part of what I got back.

"Well, you are a blast from the past! Let me guess; you were vacationing in Laramie, Wyoming and in the Motel Six where you were staying you saw me on television analyzing the hunting techniques of bagging the Great Spotted Elk!  Well, three Grandchildren are mine which tells you all you need to know in terms of the fact that I have aged. Hopefully I can be like Gregory Peck and be inclined "..to feel the evolution of the seasons" rather than be crotchety and bitter. Time will tell." That was classic Todd.

He sent me his phone number along with an invitation to call and chat sometime. Somehow I never got around to it. I wish I had.  Would have been good to hear his voice again. I think I'm going to spend some time this weekend watching those old tapes.

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