About Phillip Vernor Olsen
Phillip Vernor Olsen (born April 26, 1948) is a former center and defensive tackle in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos and the son of Lynn Jay and Merle Olsen. He also was a member of the Buffalo Bills. He is the younger brother of Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.
Olsen attended Logan High School, Logan, Utah from 1963-1966. He was a three-year starter on the varsity football team as defensive tackle and offensive tackle. An all around athlete, he earned 8 varsity letters in football, basketball and track. While a Logan High Grizzly Olsen was voted All-Division, All-Region, All-State, All-American recognition in football as well as voted All-Division, All-Region in basketball (averaging 18 points a game as a senior). He was on the Top 100 recruits list in football in 1966. He received over 40 college football scholarship offers, making campus visits to Stanford, the University of Iowa, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Purdue University.
Phil was a three-year letterman and three-year starter and in 1969 was a consensus All-America selection for the Utah State University Aggies, in Logan, UT. Olsen was an Alpha Sigma Nu Honorary as one of top 12 USU Seniors, 1970, and like his brother Merlin is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Olsen was also the Aggie Team Captain, 1969 Team MVP, and the 1969 USU Athlete of the Year. Wayne Estes Memorial Award, 1970 for "Top USU Student/Athlete/Citizen". His jersey #90 was retired in 1970. After his senior season he played in the East West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and College All-Star games.
Phil was drafted in the first round (overall #4) of the 1970 draft by the Boston Patriots. Prior to reporting to the Patriots, he suffered a severe knee injury in practice the week of the College All-Star game in Chicago, IL when DT Mike McCoy of the University of Notre Dame, fell on his right knee, ending his 1970 season.
Traded to the Rams before the 1971 season for a #1 draft choice and additional financial compensation. Suffered a second injury to the same knee after winning the starting position at right defensive tackle, yet was able to come back after five weeks and be the starter for the Rams in 1971 and 1972 next to his brother, Merlin Olsen. Merlin and Phil played side-by-side as defensive tackles for the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 and 1972, the only time in NFL history this has ever happened. A younger brother Orrin, played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1976. Merlin, Phil and Orrin were all playing in the NFL in 1976, which is one of the few times in NFL history that three brothers have ever played at the same time.
In 1973 and 1974 Phil was moved to defensive end where he backed up Fred Dryer and Jack Youngblood. Traded to the Broncos in 1975 where he reunited with Coach John Ralston who had recruited him out of high school to Stanford and had coached him the East-West Shrine Game. Olsen switched positions again, this time to center where he played through 1976.
Olsen was the captain of the Broncos return teams both seasons there. In 1976 Rick Upchurch had a spectacular year as a rookie kick returner. That year, the Broncos tied the then-NFL record with 6 kicks returned for touchdowns, with Upchurch setting the NFL mark for punt returns for a touchdown in a season with four. That same season, in addition to starting more than half the games at center, Olsen blocked four kicks (a punt, two PATs and a field goal). The Broncos beat the New York Giants 14-13 after Olsen blocked a PAT and for his efforts he was presented a game ball.
He moved on to the Buffalo Bills to reunite with his Ram coach Chuck Knox as one of the "Knox's Guys". These were players who Chuck Knox would bring into his teams to provide leadership, skill and experience. However Phil subsequently suffered a third knee injury and spent his time in Buffalo on the injured reserve unit.
With his brothers, Merlin and Orrin, ran the Olsen Brothers All-Sports Camps from 1971 through 1978 which was an introductory all sports camps for youngsters ages 8–17.