Former Los Angeles Rams running back and ex-Texas Longhorns great Jim Bertelsen has died at age 71, the university announced Friday.
The school revealed the news in a Twitter post that honored the two-time national champion who still ranks among the top 10 in rushing touchdowns in Longhorns history.
No details were given regarding the cause of death.
Originally from Saint Paul, Minn., Bertlesen attended Hudson High School in Wisconsin before enrolling at Texas, where he became a star ballcarrier.
In his college career, Bertelsen accumulated 2,510 rushing yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry while earning All-Southwest Conference honors two times. He helped carry Texas to national titles in 1969 (consensus) and 1970 (UPI) in the Longhorns’ vaunted wishbone offense under head coach Darrell Royal.
Selected by the Rams in the second round (No. 30 overall) of the 1972 NFL Draft, Bertelsen played five years with the team. His career-best season was his second in the NFL in 1973, when he teamed with 1,000-yard rusher Lawrence McCutcheon in both making the Pro Bowl out of the Rams’ backfield. Bertelsen posted career highs in carries (206), rushing yards (854) and yards from scrimmage (1,121) that season.
Los Angeles led the league in scoring (27.7 points per game) and carries that season while posting the NFL’s second-ranked rushing offense in going 12-2. It marked the first of seven consecutive NFC West titles for the Rams, the first four of which came with Bertelsen.
In his five seasons, he finished his career with 2,466 yards and 16 rushing scores while adding 88 catches for 1,014 yards and two touchdown receptions.