By Mark Wright
Olsen Trying To Fill 'Hall of Fame' Shoes
TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA -- Hans Olsen has got some mighty big shoes to fill.
That's saying a lot for a guy that stands 6-4 and tips the scales at 304
pounds. Even though Hans enjoyed a successful career as a defensive lineman
on the Brigham Young University Cougar football team, he knows that, at
least for him, there's a lot more expected. That's what happens when you
have three uncles who've played professional football in the National
Hans comes from football country and from a football family. Born in
Caldwell, Idaho, Hans grew up wrestling more than playing football but was
certainly aware of the exploits of his now famous relatives as they
successfully made the jump to the NFL. The Olsen family football legacy
includes his uncle Orrin Olsen who played with Kansas City Chiefs in 1976,
his uncle Phil Olsen who played with the Boston Patriots, L.A. Rams, and
Denver Broncos, and his uncle Merlin Olsen. Yes, that Merlin Olsen. The Pro
Football Hall of Famer, member of the "Fearsome Foursome," celebrity
sportscaster and spokesman for FTD Florists. That Merlin Olsen.
Now, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts, Hans
facing an uphill battle to make the team. A difficult task under any
circumstances and not made any easier when you're carrying a family legacy
on your back. "I feel like I've got a name to carry," Hans said. "And I was
told by (the uncles), 'Carry our name like we've carried it. Make sure you
do.' " Hans knows that a lot is expected of him but he's willing to take up
the challenge. "I have very high hopes of keeping it going," he said. While
his optimism is admirable, his chances are not that great. In the NFL,
undrafted, free agent rookies have a life span that lasts just about as long
as training camp does.
However, even if Hans doesn't find fame and glory in the NFL, he's already
accomplished several things that have brought him fame in his own right. On
a snowy morning in November 1996, Hans and his uncle Orrin where on a
fishing trip when they came across a pickup truck that had slid down a
50-foot embankment and rolled twice before landing upside down in a creek.
The driver had lost control of his vehicle and was now trapped inside with
no hope of escape from the icy water that was rapidly filling the cab of the
truck. Hans and Orrin helped to free the man and saved his life.
Hans' other moment of glory came last year when his ability to balance large
objects on his chin landed on the pages of the national ESPN sports
magazine. "When I was a kid growing up on a farm in Weiser, Idaho, I used to
kill the boredom by balancing things on my chin," he told the magazine. "It
started with rakes and hoes, and progressed to the point where, one day, I
balanced two 150-pound railroad ties. I balanced one on top of the other to
form a T and held 'em up there. Unfortunately, I also ripped up my chin
pretty good." Now, battling for a spot as a backup on the Colt's defensive
line, Hans hopes to demonstrate that he has other talents as well.
Rookie tries to live up to NFL legacy
Indianapolis IN Star 7Aug01 S2
By Mike Chappell: Indianapolis Star
Hans Olsen follows footsteps of his uncles, who include Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.