Friday, March 12, 2010

Sad passing

I was sad yesterday when I learned that Merlin Olsen died. He and the Dallas Cowboys' Bob Lilly were the best defensive tackles of my youth, and I looked up to them. When I first started following pro football in 1969, everybody was talking about the L.A. Rams and the Fearsome Foursome, and the Minnesota Vikings and their Purple People Eaters.

Olsen always comported himself as a gentleman and a gentle man as an actor and TV commentator. Apparently I'm not the only person who thought that. Here's a quote from another story I found on Sports Illustrated's web site:

In the book Instant Replay (written in the '60s), Jerry Kramer (Green Bay Packers offensive guard) told a reporter that Olsen was big and fast and smart and quick and tough and all of those things, then added something like, "Those are his weaknesses." Vince Lombardi hit the roof, of course. But Kramer stood by his assessment.

"I'll be facing Merlin Olsen, and that's definitely work, not fun," Kramer wrote in Instant Replay. "Merlin never lets up. He'll run right over you no matter what the score is."

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