Roman Gabriel, former NFL star QB and Carolina Panthers radio broadcaster, dies at 83

Roman Gabriel, a star NFL quarterback who dabbled in acting and broadcasting post-football, has died. He was 83.

Roman Gabriel, former NFL star QB and Carolina Panthers radio broadcaster, dies at 83

Roman Gabriel III, the quarterback’s son, announced that his father died Saturday morning. He shared on social media:

“I am sad to announce my father Roman Gabriel passed away peacefully this morning of natural causes at his home. The entire family asked for your prayers, and to please respect our privacy. I love you dad.”

Long-time NFL fans know that Gabriel was the quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams during the 1960s. He ended his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. And along the way, he earned NFL MVP honors as well as Comeback Player of the Year and four trips to the Pro Bowl.

The Rams paid tribute to one of their best-ever quarterbacks. The social media team posted “We mourn the loss of Rams legend and football pioneer, Roman Gabriel. We extend our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

The Rams selected Gabriel, the former NC State star, with the No. 2 pick of the 1962 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders with the fledgling AFL, made Gabriel the No. 1 pick of the league’s draft. Gabriel opted for the Rams, a glamour team in the NFL.

He earned MVP honors in 1969 and Pro Bowl trips from 1967-69 and again in 1973.

By 1972, the Rams changed coaches, going from George Allen to Chuck Knox. They traded Gabriel to the Eagles. That’s where he finished his career.

But Gabriel wasn’t finished with the NFL. Back in 1995, the Carolina Panthers started as an expansion NFL franchise. Gabriel was part of their first radio announcing team. Since he grew up in the state, he was an obvious choice for the franchise.

The Panthers also paid tribute to Gabriel on social media, sharing the post of Roman Gabriel III and adding “a special person and a special part of our radio broadcast.”

Gabriel’s popularity also extended beyond football. While he still was playing quarterback with the Rams, he took some acting jobs in the off-season. His best role probably was in The Undefeated. He portrayed the character Blue Boy and starred alongside John Wayne and Rock Hudson. Gabriel’s teammate Merlin Olsen also was in the movie.

Bill Rosinski, the first voice of the Panthers, shared a screen shot from the movie in his tribute to his friend. He wrote: “My old Panthers broadcast partner Roman Gabriel in “The Undefeated” a John Wayne movie. One of the best nights I ever had was a dinner in St Louis with Gabe and Jack Snow who told stories for two hours and I never said a word.”

And Gabriel also was made appearances in some classic TV shows. He was in Gilligan’s IslandIronsidePerry Mason and Laugh-In.

There still is a campaign to get Gabriel into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame and was an inaugural inductee into the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame.

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