Merlin Olsen: The Schizophrenic Football Player

March 13, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Merlin Olsen always fascinated me. I considered him borderline schizophrenic.
On the football field, Olsen was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ Fearsome Foursome defensive line that swallowed ball carriers whole. He, Lamar Lundy, Deacon Jones, and Rosey Grier gave no quarter on Sunday afternoons. You’d be better off running through a fire wearing a suit soaked with gasoline.
Olsen, like his line brethren, was mean, nasty, unforgiving, snarling, and angry.
But it was what he did, not what he was.
Jones, on the other hand, reveled in his reputation as a virtual madman. He never tried to shed that skin. Even today, at age 71, Deacon’s eyes get wild and they dance when he talks about his playing days and how much he liked to inflict punishment. Deacon takes credit for inventing the term, and stat, “quarterback sack.” Not that anyone in their right mind would argue the point with him.
Olsen, the Hall of Fame football player (in pro AND col...

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