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Former Broncos quarterback Steve Tensi dies at 81

Former Broncos quarterback Steve Tensi died last Friday. He was 81 years old.

Tensi played two seasons with the San Diego Chargers before getting traded to Denver in 1967. He went on to play four years with the Broncos, throwing for 5,153 yards, 38 touchdowns and 45 interceptions in 41 games (32 starts).

He threw a career-high 16 touchdown passes in his first season with the Broncos in 1967. And in 1969, Tensi had his best season as a pro, recording 1,990 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games.

In 1970, the Broncos’ first year in the NFL after the AFL-NFL merger, Tensi played in seven games (two starts), totaling 539 passing yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. He retired at the end of the season due to injuries.

Following his retirement, Tensi served as quarterbacks coach at Wichita State for two seasons and then became a wide receivers coach for the Chicago Fire of the World Football League.

Tensi eventually became a construction manager and a carpenter.

Born on Dec. 8, 1942, Tensi played football and basketball at Elder High School in his hometown of Cincinnati, and received 28 scholarship offers for football and four for baseball. He chose Florida State, where he completed 252 passes for 3,384 yards, 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in 30 career games, according to Sports Reference.

As a senior in 1964, he led the Seminoles to a 9-1-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl. He was selected by the Chargers in the AFL draft as well as the Baltimore Colts in the NFL draft, but decided to begin his pro career in the AFL. Tensi was inducted into the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tensi is survived by his wife, Barbara Jean; his siblings, Marilyn, David and Larry; children Barbara, Steve Jr., Holly and Jonathan; and over a dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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