Christensen, 57, was to undergo a liver transplant on Tuesday.
Christensen battled liver disease and other ailments during the past few years, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. But he was known as an active and effusive person who kept himself in good shape. The health issue related to the surgery arose quickly.
Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round in 1978 out of Brigham Young, Christensen played 11 seasons in the NFL.
He joined the Raiders in 1979 and won two Super Bowls (1980, 1983).
He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and twice was an All-Pro selection.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning sat out Wednesday's practice as the Broncos prepared for Sunday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Manning suffered an ankle sprain in the Broncos' win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. An MRI on Monday revealed no other significant damage in the ankle.
Manning, 37, has been bothered by sore ankles since the Broncos' loss to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, last month.
Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said earlier this week that Manning would play against the unbeaten Chiefs.
Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe will start against the Broncos on Sunday despite being arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and speeding during a November 10 traffic stop, coach Andy Reid said, according to the Kansas City Star.
"It's a legal matter," Reid said. "That's the way we'll handle it (and) let it run its course there."
Injured Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants to get back on the field as quickly as possible and is holding out hope for a possible Thanksgiving return.
"I haven't given up hope on playing any week. It depends on how I heal and depends on what the next X-ray looks like," Rodgers said Tuesday on his weekly radio show.
Rodgers sustained a broken left collarbone in a 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on November 4 and the Packers have dropped two straight games. He said he felt the best he has on Tuesday since he suffered the injury.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay likes to express his thoughts on Twitter, and his latest tweet involves an idea he floated to fans about recently released Houston Texans safety Ed Reed.
Irsay posed a question on Twitter: "ColtsFans...Ed Reed signs,goes to WR,with limited special packages for WR plays; backs up safety n plays some role n return game/Yes-no?" Whether Irsay was serious or joking, it's difficult to tell.
Reed has never played offense during a 12-year NFL career that includes a Super Bowl victory last season with the Baltimore Ravens.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tried to crack a joke about the potency of the Detroit Lions' defensive tackle tandem, but Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley aren't laughing, according to an ESPN report.
"Well, yeah, you've got to be careful," Roethlisberger said during a conference call with Detroit media. "You'll end up dead if you're not careful.
"This is a great D-line and defence. Yeah, we'll, I tell myself all the time to be alert for those things but then when the bullets are flying who knows what's going to happen."
Suh, however, wasn't fond of Big Ben's choice of verbiage.
"I'm not a killer," Suh said. "My track record proves that one. I guess I can take that somewhat as a compliment. But no, there's going to be no killing on Sunday."
As the most-sacked QB in the NFL since 2001 (379 times, according to ESPN Stats & Information), Roethlisberger realizes he and the Steelers' offensive line will have their hands full with the hard-charging and blitzing ways of Suh and Fairley.
Fairley agreed with his teammate that he's not out for blood or to cause injury - or worse - to Roethlisberger.
"I wouldn't say kill someone, but if we stay alive in our rushes, sooner or later we're going to get there," Fairley said.
"He's (Roethlisberger) the type of quarterback that's going to hold the ball to extend plays and watching, coach telling us this morning, we just gotta stay alive."