I was doing a little reading… a little research about the Rams and I came upon an article on Bleacher Report titled “St. Louis Rams: Top 75 Greatest Players of All Time”. The list the author compiled was pretty ridiculous (probably should be titled “75 Eclectic Rams Players That Contributed to the Team in Some Way”), but there was one name I was glad to see; Charley Cowan. Charley is an old school offensive lineman slash football super hero. Charley played for the Rams from 1961 to 1975. He was tough, humble and always put the needs of the team above his personal needs, and from the stats it looks like he only missed a few games his entire career. He played in 206 games, only two fewer than franchise leader Merlin Olsen. He was one of those guys who really had a heart for the game.
From 1961 to 1975 the Rams made the playoffs 5 times (1967,1969,1973,1974,1975), reaching the NFC championship game of the 1974-75 NFL Playoffs and the 1975-76 NFL Playoffs, but losing to the Minnesota Vikings and to the Dallas Cowboys.* Cowan was selected to the Pro Bowl 3 times in his career (1968-1970). For almost 10 years Cowan, Hall of Famer Tom Mack, and Ken Iman were an intimidating presence on the offensive line. When Cowan wasn’t busy with excelling at his craft, he was known for taking rookies or struggling teammates under his wing. “Charlie was a real teacher,” said 6 time Pro Bowler and once Cowan student Rich Saul.
Cowan’s kidneys quit working in 1988 and he spent much of the next 10 years dealing with health issues. He passed away in 1998 at the age of 59. At his prime it was said that Cowan was more mountain than man at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, but unfortunately none of us are invincible. The game of football has been made great by men like Charley Cowan and he is missed.