Olsen, who also gives motivational speeches to businesses and makes appearances on behalf of charities, has succeeded in many endeavors and has parlayed his affability into professional success.
Possibly his best attribute was his consistency. "Olsen played for five different head coaches during his days with the Rams," Holden wrote, "and though they had different styles and philosophies, those five men had one thing in common: Olsen never had a bad year, a bad game or a bad play." Ex-players recall how nurturing he was as a teammate. "If I hadn't had Merlin beside me those first three, four, or five years, I probably would not have turned out to be the football player that I did," former Rams linebacker Jack Young-blood said. Olsen presented Youngblood into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Olsen, still a spokesman for FTD Florist, is a motivational speaker, working with some of the largest corporations in the United States. He lives in California. Utah State players in August 2002 received a surprise visit from Olsen, who gave a pep talk to the Aggies. "We talked about a couple of things that might help them individually to improve their performance during the year," said Olsen. Added linebacker Jesse Busta: "Anytime you have one of the best players to ever play here and in the NFL, it is inspirational."