Over a Fifteen Year Career, Roman Gabriel Was An NFL Record Breaker.

He was born the son of Filipino immigrants in North Carolina to a simple family life.

But Roman Gabriel was destined to play football.


Overcoming issues with asthma, Gabriel played high school football at New Hanover High School.

In college, he didn’t go far playing for the NC State Wolfpack. He would leave North Carolina State as a 2-time All-American and the 2-time ACC Player of the Year. North Carolina Governor Terry Stanford presented his retired jersey at halftime of a basketball game against Maryland. Gabriel finished his college career holding almost every passing record at NC State.

He left the Wolfpack with 2,961 yards and 19 touchdowns.

When it came to the NFL, Gabriel had choices. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the first overall pick in 1962 by the AFL. In the same year, he was also drafted in the NFL by the Los Angeles Rams with the #2 overall pick.

In an almost ten-year career with the Rams, Gabriel was electric and put up incredible numbers, including 89 consecutive starts, but Los Angeles only made the playoffs twice. Being relegated to a backup role in 1973 and voicing his unhappiness, Gabriel was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Harold Jackson, Tony Baker, two first-round draft picks, and a third-round draft pick.

Unfortunately for Gabriel and the Eagles — by the time he reached Philadelphia — the team was still struggling from the same issues that plagued it dating back to the late 1960s. Although the Eagles had the #1 passing attack and Gabriel was voted to a Pro Bowl, he was never able to lead the team to the playoffs.

He would finish as a backup for his final two seasons with the Eagles.

After football, Gabriel was a guest on talk shows. He also had a brief acting career on TV and movies, such as the John Wayne film The Undefeated. He was also a coach in the World League of American Football and a college coach for three years.


On April 20th, Roman Gabriel died in South Carolina at the age of 83.

PHOTO: Wiki Commons

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