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Governor's race

Former L.A. Rams star Rosey Grier says he plans to run for governor of California

This photograph from 1964 shows the Los Angeles Rams' legendary defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome." From left: Lamar Lundy (85), Merlin Olsen (74), Rosey Grier (76) and Deacon Jones (75). (NFL Photos / Associated Press)
This photograph from 1964 shows the Los Angeles Rams' legendary defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome." From left: Lamar Lundy (85), Merlin Olsen (74), Rosey Grier (76) and Deacon Jones (75). (NFL Photos / Associated Press)

California's 2018 race for governor just might get a little more fearsome.

Former Los Angeles Rams football player Rosey Grier, who was a member of the famous “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line in the 1960s, says he plans to run for governor.

Grier, a Republican who lives in west Los Angeles and endorsed Donald Trump in the presidential election, said he expects to jump into the race in the near future though he hasn't launched a campaign.

“Yeah, I’m going to run for governor. I think we can do a lot of good,” Grier, 84, said in a recent phone interview. “I’ve spent my life serving my fellow man. I thought I would continue doing that.”

Grier would face extremely long odds in the race, which already has attracted a list of top Democratic candidates , including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang.

Grier, who became a minister and social activist after leaving professional football, said he has worked with the elderly and with gang members. He said California needs leaders who have real life experience turning people away “from the darkness” of despair.

Though he has never held public office, the former football star has an eclectic political history: He supported the presidential bids of both Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan.

Grier served as an aide to the presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy when Kennedy was gunned down by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan outside the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968. Grier grabbed Sirhan's leg and gun hand after the shots were fired.

“I really believe had I been closer to him that night, I would have been able to save him,” Grier said. “But it was not my choice. It was God’s choice.”

Earlier this year, Grier endorsed Trump for president, saying he was impressed by Trump's business experience and support for Israel.

"I felt that we needed a businessman in the White House," Grier said."Our country is turning away from Israel. And you don’t turn away from Israel. Those are God's chosen people."

Former Los Angeles Rams star Rosey Grier at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Former Los Angeles Rams star Rosey Grier at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

The former football star doesn’t seem to be worried an electorate in a state that overwhelmingly chose Hillary Clinton might be turned off by his support for Trump.

“If I’m not successful, it won’t be because I haven’t tried,” Grier said.

Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier was born in Georgia, and played for the New York Giants and Rams during his 12-year professional career in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Grier also had a pretty good run as an actor. He starred in popular TV shows "Daniel Boone," "Kojak," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "I Dream of Jeannie." He also starred in the 1972 movie "The Thing with Two Heads."

A couple of years ago, Grier was involved in a legal dispute with his neighbor.

Grier's neighbor Jana Young filed a lawsuit against him in 2014, accusing him of sexual assault, as well as failing to pay her for managing his finances and overseeing a home improvement project at his condo, according to court records.

Grier filed a counter-complaint accusing Young of inflating the cost of the construction work and failing to secure proper permits. Grier also alleged that Young "threatened to make false accusations" against him unless he paid, court records show.

The two reached a settlement in 2015, court records show.

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