Editor's Note: This column originally appeared online at National Football Post.
I fell in love with the NFL in the late '50s and '60s because my father took my brothers and I to Rams game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. They were nosebleed seats, which necessitated telescope-strength field glasses to follow the action, but we loved the Rams. The Fearsome Foursome defensive line eviscerated opposing quarterbacks, wreaking havoc on offenses throughout the League.
Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Roosevelt Grier were devastating and colorful, but my favorite was the "gentle giant" Merlin Olsen. He played 15 years for the Rams, was selected to 14 Pro Bowls and later inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, "asbestos cancer," and died not long after at age 69.