People of Faith: Rosey Grier
- Thursday, January 22, 2004
Grier grew up the seventh of 11 children and was named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was a big, tough kid with a soft side, teaching himself to play the piano when he wasn't playing sports with friends.
After playing four seasons of college football at Penn State, Grier in 1955 headed to the Giants, where he would twice be named All-Pro. He played 13 NFL seasons in all, spending the final years of his career on the West Coast with the Rams, where he became part of the Fearsome Foursome defensive line. It was the Hollywood influence that began to turn the gregarious Grier inward. He had grown up in the Baptist church, but paid little attention to what it meant to live an authentic Christian life.
“I was invited to all the parties. I was well known. Superstars were always around,'' he said during a phone interview. “I felt comfortable with everybody, but eventually realized I didn't have everything. I didn't have the glue that holds life together.''
That evangelical epoxy arrived in 1978 when Grier's son, Rosey Jr., convinced his father to attend a church service in California.
“I said, ‘Man, I don't want to go to church,' but he said, ‘Dad, I've never been to church.' So we went early one morning and I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and realized that that is what was missing from my life.''
Within four months, Grier had remarried his ex-wife and began pursuing a “second'' life as a minister.
Now, he reaches out to those who suffer from the same depression and hopelessness that caused him to “close myself inside my apartment and close the drapes'' in the early 1970s.
Even back then, he attempted to help urban youth, but his efforts were hindered by his own lack of energy.
“It seemed everything I was doing was unfruitful,'' he said. “I'd bring in lawyers to help kids and those kids would get right back into the same problems. I was like a soldier who was too long on the battlefield.''
That changed when Grier put God in charge of his life.
“When I came to know Him, I suddenly knew He was the real answer to society's problems. That God was what could change the world.''
And God is unchanging, even if the guy who follows him is constantly on the move.
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