One of the most recognized defensive players in Rams history, NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen died this morning. Olsen was 69. Drafted out of Utah State in 1962 by the Los Angeles Rams, Olsen made an immediate impact in the NFL. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year and voted to his first Pro Bowl, starting a NFL record-streak that would continue for 14 consecutive appearances (1962-75). He was named to the NFL All-Pro team eight consecutive years (1963-1970), and was a Western Conference All-Star team selection six times (1964-1969).
In a statement released by Chip Rosenbloom, the Rams owner said, “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Merlin Olsen. He was a towering figure both on and off the playing field, who lived as he played, with ferocity and determination. Merlin was the epitome of greatness, both on and off the football field. He was a Hall-of-Famer in every sense of the word, a legendary Ram who lived to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity.”
Playing defensive tackle on the nationally-recognized defensive line known as the “Fearsome Foursome,” Olsen terrorized opposing offenses throughout his 15-year career (1962-1976), the entire time spent with the Rams. Olsen finished his career playing in 198 consecutive games. In 1982, he was named to the NFL Hall of Fame. Chosen to the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1960s and 1970s, Olsen was also selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team in 1994.