Rosey Grier and the 1960 Giants: Rare Photos
The Rev. Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier has enjoyed as varied a life as one might expect from an actor, singer, ordained minister, political activist, author, and NFL Pro Bowler.
He was on hand — and physically subdued Sirhan Sirhan — the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel’s kitchen in 1968; was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ famed Fearsome Foursome defensive line; wrote a best-selling book in the early ’70s on the pleasures and challenges of needlepoint; and is a cousin to the blaxploitation movie star, Pam Grier.
During Grier’s years in New York in the Fifties and Sixties, when he played with Big Blue Hall of Famers like Frank Gifford, Andy Robustelli, and Sam Huff, the Giants won four Eastern Conference championships and, in 1956, the NFL title.
Here — his memories stirred by looking at the previously unpublished photographs of the 1960 New York Giants featured in this gallery — Grier talks with LIFE about his views on football and sportsmanship; his experience as a young man from small-town Georgia playing in the Big Apple; and the men he shared the road and the field with during a transformational period in his long, full life.
“It was an an incredible thing for me,” Grier told LIFE, “coming from the South, playing college ball at Penn State, to end up in New York playing for a franchise with a history like the Giants. I enjoyed it so much, and became good friends with guys like Charlie Conerly, [halfback and receiver] Kyle Rote … oh, so many of them. The team felt like a family then. It really did.”