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Utah State University legend Merlin Olsen dead at 69

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah State University football legend Merlin Olsen died from cancer Wednesday night. He was 69 years old.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah State University football legend Merlin Olsen died from cancer Wednesday night at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 69 years old.

"This was the voice of a man who not only became one of our country's most decorated athletes, but also one of the most accomplished and respected people ever to hail from the state of Utah," said USU President Stan Albrecht.

Olsen was an All-American who played for the Aggie football team in the early 1960s. He was an NFL Hall of Fame inductee in 1982 after playing for the Los Angeles Rams as one of the "Fearsome Foursome," including Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Rosey Grier. Olsen was rookie of the year for the Rams in 1962 and is still the Rams' all-time leader in career tackles with 915. He was voted NFC defensive lineman of the year in 1973 and the NFL MVP in 1974.

As an actor, Olsen starred on TV's Little House on the Prairie and Father Murphy during the early 1980s. He also starred in several well-known FTD floral commercials.

Olsen was a Cache Valley native who played at Logan High School. He was involved in several community and charitable projects. USU renamed the football field after him in a ceremony at a basketball game in December. USU is also planning to place a statue of Olsen at the southeast corner of the stadium.

Douglas Anderson is the Dean of The Huntsman School of Business at Utah State, Anderson said," He was like a Greek god. He was full of grace and great physical  strength as you might imagine."

Utah State head football coach Gary Andersen said, He gave me some real guidance that I'll value for the rest of my life as far as things he went through."

A Logan City park is also named after Olsen.

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