RaiderRamble.com recently had the pleasure of sharing words with the son of a real Raiders’ legend, Teren Christensen, son of tight end Todd Christensen.
Having grown up a Los Angeles Raiders fan in a family that bled “Silver and Black,” I was always familiar with the names that came to define the particular era; Marcus Allen, Howie Long, and of course, Todd Christensen. Lately, there’s been a lot of discussions and justifiably so, of when Cliff Branch will be enshrined in the NFL Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio but what about Christensen? A tight end that to his credit helped revolutionize the position also merits discussion.
However, in my belief that Christensen belongs in the “Hall” I decided to get a more in-depth and personal look into who the man was beyond the gridiron, and who better than to shed some light than his own flesh and blood.
Teren, you are my age I believe, so you did not get to see him play live but assuming you guys talked about football, did your father ever talk about what he thought was his biggest accomplishment and his biggest failure?
He has expressed that getting into the NFL might have been his biggest accomplishment, as he broke his foot after being drafted by the Cowboys, and was released the following year. He got picked up by the Giants but only remained on the team for a week. He then tried out for the Patriots, Bears, Eagles, and Packers, all of whom did not pick him up. When he landed with the Raiders, he rode the bench for four years.
Of course, he also participated in two winning Super Bowls with the Raiders. He was All-Pro five years in a row and racked up better numbers than many his tight end contemporaries who are now in the NFL Hall of Fame. He led the league in receptions twice. He has more career receptions than Ditka, Casper, Charlie Sanders, and John Mackey. He has the most 1000 yard seasons with three. He is second only to Charlie Sanders in Pro Bowls with 5 (Sanders had 7), and he had the most Super Bowl Championships with 2.
Raider Nation is aware of your father’s accomplishments but what we would like to know is what was he like “beyond the Silver and Black” with you growing up?
He was an awesome dad. When I was in high school until he passed away when I was 26, we were best friends. We did almost everything together, and we got along the best. His taste in music was what I like now as well, such as Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, and Grand Funk Railroad. We shared interests in restaurants, like Jack in the Box and Tito’s Tacos, when others in our family did not get as excited about them. We shared a similar sense of humor as well, which was mainly sarcastic.
One of the best things he did for me was that he got me into weight lifting and was my trainer for several years. He felt lifting weights was a good way for me to feel athletic because I was unable to participate in sports like my brothers due to my disability (Spina Bifida).
My dad was and continues to be very influential to me. One of the biggest lessons he taught me throughout my life growing up was to be grateful. He also taught me to keep my mind occupied. He was an avid reader of scriptures, and a writer in his journal daily. I have since adopted the daily scriptures and journaling habits because of him. He and I also liked to do crossword puzzles and Jumbles together on an almost daily basis for years. I like to continue doing Jumbles now, but I’m not as good at crosswords as he was. My dad also had an extensive vocabulary, and he often taught me obscure words that he learned, and he taught me the value of continuing to learn.
My family and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My dad actively participated in church activities and service, and he taught me to be active in them myself.
While you were growing up did he continue to follow the Raiders? What about you, do you follow them?
My dad and I enjoyed looking through the NFL stats of each game during the football season, and yes we followed the Raiders. He liked to see how they were doing and follow particular players each week.
You Tweeted out recently that you believed your father deserved to be in the NFL Hall of Fame and I think many will agree with that sentiment, but if you had to sum it up in your own words, why does he deserve it?
I am biased because he is my dad, but I believe he deserves it based on his contribution to the team, especially helping to get them to and win two Super Bowls. He was a very reliable pass catcher. He led the entire NFL in receptions twice, in an era when pass catching tight ends were not standard (one of the years he even beat out JERRY RICE). He went to five Pro Bowls in a row. I think the decision should be based on his performance on the field, and because he had better numbers than several guys who are already in Canton, my dad should be there too.
He had hands that stick to the ball, haha.
Hope Raider Nation enjoyed our interview with Teren and we will all be looking forward to seeing Christensen getting his own bust next to other Raiders legends that deserve their own, such as his former head coach Tom Flores.
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