The Unlikely Hobby That Football Legend Rosey Grier Loves

Rosey Grier is probably most well-known for his professional football career as a defensive lineman with the New York Giants from 1955 to 1962 and the Los Angeles Rams from 1963 to 1967. He is still considered one of the finest players in the National Football League, according to Pro Football History. In 1968, Grier made one of his most famous tackles off the field when he helped take down Sirhan Sirhan, who had fatally shot Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Grier, who was working as a bodyguard for Kennedy, explains to PBS that as he was helping hold Sirhan down, he managed to wrench the gun from the assassin's hand. He also protected Sirhan from the vengeance of the crowd.

After his football career was over, Grier appeared as a guest star in a few television shows and movies, including "Quincy, M.E." and "The Wild Wild West," and had a regular role for one season of "Daniel Boone," according to IMDb. While he obviously managed to stay busy, he also made time for a hobby that seems unlikely for a football hero.

'It's something anyone can do'

That hobby is needlepoint. In 1973 Grier told The New York Times that he began needlepoint as a "joke," but it became something he continued to do because it was easy. "It's something anyone can do, if they just want to," he says. "You can have a lot of fun with it, jive around with it, and just relax with it," he explained. But another benefit is that it helps him unwind. "I get keyed up a lot, you know, and I can sit and do something like this and kind of get away from it all. Pretty soon you're just into those little holes, man."

There seems to be some truth to his theory. According to the American Institute of Stress, needlepoint, knitting, and crochet all have the potential to relieve stress because the repetitive motions involved with each brings about a "relaxation response" similar to that achieved with yoga and meditation.

Rosey Grier published a needlepoint book

Grier likes needlepoint so much that he decided to write a book about it. The book, aptly titled "Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men," was published in 1973. Apparently it's now out of print, but there are used copies available. At the time, Grier said he was only using two needlepoint stitches: the continental and the basketweave. But with just those two stitches, he has managed to make several pieces which are on display in his home. And the hardest thing to learn? Threading the needle, which once took him 30 minutes, per The New York Times.

The football star explains that many of his football buddies teased him about taking up the hobby, but he didn't let that bother him. "I am too into myself to let anything like that bother me," he says. "I know who I am, which is a heavy trip, because a lot of people don't know." And the funny thing is that he was able to convince some of them, including fullback Ben Wilson and defensive back Alvin Hall, to give needlepoint a try, reports The New York Times.