Dick Enberg, who was Merlin Olsen’s broadcast partner on many Rose Bowl telecasts for NBC in the 1980s, has offered up these thoughts through the CBS press department, the day after it was announced that Olsen had died of cancer at 69:
“God doesn’t create perfect men, but he came mighty close when he brought us Merlin Olsen. He was athletically GREAT and just as GOOD as a man. He personified the Greek ideal of a “sound mind in a sound body.” How privileged I was to call his games as an All Pro, Hall of Famer-to-be Los Angeles Ram, and then to work at his side in the broadcast booth for 12 years. He was meticulous and thorough in his preparation, lessons he had learned as an all A student in high school and college. He was perhaps the brightest to ever play his position in the NFL.
“He was just as generous as a broadcaster as he was tough as a defensive tackle. I was privileged to be his TV colleague and his friend. I seriously doubt that I shall ever meet another that will measure up to his complete character. He was every part of a gentle giant.”
Enberg will be calling the final of the Pac-10 tournament for CBS on Saturday before moving onto the first round of the NCAA Tournament next week, then beginning his newest venture: Play-by-play for the San Diego Padres on about 100 games this summer.