Merlin Olsen, former NFL and college football great, passes

This is Merlin Olsen, and if this image does not scream "FOOTBALL!" to you then no image will. Photo: www.clanram.com

Quick history lesson: Waaaaaaaaaay back in 2001, the Colts had a guy on their roster named Hans Olsen. He was a defensive tackle out of BYU, and played on the same college football team that Rob Morris was on. Olsen wasn't a great player; more roster filler than anything else. In 2002, the Colts converted Hans to guard. He stayed on the team until 2003 where he was released during training camp of that year. He's been out of football since.

Despite playing roughly four years in the NFL, Hans was not known for his own accomplishments. He was known as the nephew of the great Merlin Olsen, the once-great Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle who played 15 years in the NFL; elected to 14 Pro Bowls over those 15 years.

To call Merlin "dominant" is to under-value his greatness. From 1962-1976, Merlin Olsen flat out scared people on the football field. There is no current equivalent to him in modern football. His 14 consecutive Pro Bowls are an NFL record.

Merlin also had an acting career post-football. He was elected in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, twenty-three years after he retired. I won't get into why it took them so long to get him into the hall. It will just piss me off more.

[UPDATE]: Olsen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, he was listed by Sporting News at one of the top 100 players in league history. Sorry for the confusion. --bbs

Today, the great Merlin Olsen passed away. He'd been battling mesothelioma since being diagnosed last year. He is survived by his wife Susan Wakley, his three children (Kelly, Jill, and Nathan), his four grand kids, and his nephew Hans.

To Merlin Olsen. One of the greats.

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