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02/19/2011

Former Los Angeles Ram Ollie Matson dies at 80

February 19, 2011 |  5:02 pm

Matson Ollie Matson, a great athlete who played for some terrible Los Angeles Rams teams during a 14-year Hall of Fame career, has died. He was 80.

Matson died Saturday of respiratory failure at his Los Angeles home.

Here's some detail on his versatility, from our news obituary from former staff writer Mike Kupper:

"He blocked, caught passes –- he threw a few as well -– and, early in his career, played defense as well as offense. But Matson, thanks to his Olympic-class speed, was known for his breakaway running with the ball, from scrimmage, after catching passes or on kickoff and punt returns. Averaging 4.4 yards, he rushed for 5,173 yards, caught 222 passes for 3,285 yards more and altogether gained 12,844 yards on rushes, receptions and returns."

The Rams traded eight players and a draft choice to the Chicago Cardinals in 1959 to get the future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Matson's obituary can be found here.

-- Keith Thursby

 Photo: Ollie Matson in 1960. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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