Merlin Olsen while playing for the Los Angeles Rams in 1965.
Merlin Olsen while playing for the Los Angeles Rams in 1965.
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Merlin Olsen Dies at 69

Merlin Olsen, the Hall of Fame tackle who anchored the Los Angeles Rams’ Fearsome Foursome, the line that glamorized defensive play in the N.F.L., died early Thursday at a hospital in Duarte, Calif. He was 69.

Olsen was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009 and had undergone chemotherapy. The turf at the football stadium at Utah State, where he was an Outland Trophy winner, recently was named Merlin Olsen Field.

Olsen, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year and had been undergoing chemotherapy, died Wednesday night, Utah State assistant athletic media relations director Zach Fisher said.

The burley giant from northern Utah joined Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier on the Rams' storied "Fearsome Foursome" defensive line known for either stopping or knocking backward whatever offenses it faced. The Rams set an NFL record for the fewest yards allowed during a 14-game season in 1968.