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Merlin Olsen, Rams Legend, Dead at 69

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Merlin Olsen, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle and part of the "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line during the 1960s and 1970s, passed away yesterday at the age of 69 his brother Orrin announced. Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma, cancer of the lung lining, last year and had undergone three courses of chemotheraphy.

A Utah native, Olsen was a two-time All American at Utah State where he helped lead the Aggies rise to national prominence. He won the 1961 Outland Trophy which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football as voted Football Writers Association of America.

After graduation he was drafted by both the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL and the Denver Broncos of the AFL in 1962. He chose for the security of the NFL and helped cement a defensive line along with Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy that would propel the Rams to the top of the NFL. The line was ultimately broken up and Olsen teamed with defensive end Jack Youngblood that would see the Rams eventually get to the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings in the 1976 season.