LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Football fans know Fred Dryer for being a standout pro football player.
Fans of ’80s-era TV shows remember him for being a heartthrob and worldwide celebrity, most notably on the NBC detective show “Hunter,” where he was able to fire a gun even while wearing incredibly tight pants
Dryer is back. This time, hosting a show on sports radio.
He recently sat down with CBS2 anchor Rick Garcia to talk about this successes in both lives, on and off the field.
Dryer especially wanted to talk about football’s hottest topic, the issue of concussions and CTE.
“I’ve had several concussions,” he said. “I was hospitalized with five of them. I know people that have been hit less times and have cognitive issues.”
Dryer was known for playing hard over his 13 seasons.
“I had head-to-head contact almost every day. For practice, I know that I took some damage. So, I know there’s a lot of people hurting.”
Injuries and pain aside, Dryer looks back fondly on his time in the NFL. The boy who grew up on a chicken ranch in Lanwdale and went on to greatness at San Diego State recalls his teammates like Carl Weathers, himself later an actor who made a name for himself as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” movies.
Dryer, now 69, ended his career with 194 sacks. He’s still the only NFL player to have two safeties in the same game.
“I had a great time, and I’m glad that I played when I did,” Dryer says.
He hung up his cleats in 1981 and found acting would become his new passion.
“I didn’t know if I could make a living at it,” he says, “but I followed my interest. I have always felt if I followed my interest, something would happen.”
What almost happened was NBC planning on starring him as Sam Malone on a sitcom pilot they were doing called “Cheers.”
Garcia asks him if he hates Ted Danson for ultimately getting the role that made him very successful and a big movie star.
“He was great,” Dryer says. “He was a part of the beginning of my metamorphosis from a football player to an actor.”
Dryer ended up making several guest appearances on “Cheers,” and it led him to playing a dramatic role.
For seven years, he played LAPD homicide detective Sgt. Richard Hunter. The series was so popular, it spawned several TV movies as well.
Today, Dryer still runs a TV production company and they produce his sports radio talk show on CRN Digital Radio.
“I like the idea at this stage of my life of being able to air my opinions,” Dryer says, “and my thoughts. And not have to swallow a lot of the junk you see in the culture.”
He doesn’t hold back when it comes to his former team, which left Southern California in 1995.
“That’s the LA Rams,” he says, “that’s what it is, not the St. Louis Rams.”
He’s thrilled, of course, to have the Rams back in Los Angeles. But he wants everyone to know, including the team, that expectations will be great. He expects them to be competitive, too. Even if LA residents have things like the beach to keep them preoccupied.
“If they are bad,” he says, “why not go to the beach? But see, that’s the great thing. You have got to perform [in LA]. If you are not performing, there is a consequence to that.”
To listen to Dryer on the radio, click here.