Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen has passed away today at the age of 69. According to the USA Today, Olsen, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2009, filed a lawsuit in December against numerous companies, including NBC, who he alleged exposed him negligently to asbestos.
Olsen played on the defensive line for the Los Angeles Rams from 1962 to 1976. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1962, and was elected to the All-Pro team 14 times. He was part of one of the best defensive lines in history alongside Deacon Jones, Rosey Grier, and Lamar Lundy. They were known as the Fearsome Foursome.
After he retired, he went on to be an NFL commentator alongside Dick Enberg on NBC throughout the 80’s. I thought he was an outstanding announcer.
He also became a successful actor. He played Michael Landon’s best friend, Jonathan Garvey on Little House on the Prairie. Then he starred in the television drama Father Murphy, which ran from 1981 to 1983.