Gentle Giant of the Fearsome Foursome
When the Los Angeles Rams drafted Utah State Outland Trophy Award winner Merlin Olsen they got one of the most dominant defensive lineman in football history. Quiet and unassuming Olsen spent his entire 15-year NFL career in Los Angeles as a major part of the legendary Rams defense nick-named the “Fearsome Foursome”. The great pass rusher Deacon Jones, who also played on that Rams defense, credits much of his own success to the fact that Olsen could occupy multiple blockers during the play allowing Jones to make plays. Named to 14 consecutive Pro Bowls and 5 All Pro teams. The 1974 Player of the Year he played in 208 games. Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 he is also a member in the College Hall of Fame as well as the Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Chosen to both the 1960s and 1970s Pro Football Hall of Fame Teams he is considered to be #27 on the NFL’s 100 All Time Team.
After leaving football Olsen started a new career in broadcasting and acting. He worked for NBC throughout the late 70s and 80s and worked a little for CBS in the early 80s.
He appeared in several movies and was well known as Jonathan Garvey, a leading character in the long-running series Little House on the Prairie. Along with his other television appearances TV nostalgia buffs will recognize him on FDT Florist commercials of the past.
Merlin Olsen passed away in 2010 from mesothelioma.
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