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Jim Murray on Merlin Olsen

March 11, 2010 |  3:26 pm


Jim Murray, The Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist, trained his critical eye on former Los Angeles Rams great Merlin Olsen in 1973, calling him "as dependable as sunset."

In a column for Nov. 11, 1973, when the Rams were on their way to a 12-2 season, Murray wrote of Olsen the defensive stalwart:

"Olsen could dam a river. He's the last remnant of the most famous line in Ram history, if not in football's -- Deacon Jones, Roosevelt Grier, Lamar Lundy and Olsen. They could stop Hitler's tanks. They taught the public to appreciate defense. Guys who play against Olsen have trouble sleeping the night before. Also, the night after."

Merlin Olsen died Thursdayat age 69, months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.

The rest of Murray's column is here.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: The Los Angeles Rams' Fearsome Foursome in 1964, from left, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones. Credit: Associated Press / NFL Photos