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With a six-year National Football League career in his rear-view mirror, Chase Reynolds is ready to butt heads in a different arena.

The record-setting standout for Drummond High and the Montana Grizzlies filed Monday to run for state senate out of Missoula.

“I’ve been kicking the idea around for awhile and decided now’s as good a time as ever,” Reynolds said from his home west of town. “Traveling around and being in other places and now coming back home, I started thinking I don’t know that Montana is heading in the right direction.”

Reynolds filed as a Republican in Missoula Senate District 49, where incumbent Diane Sands has already filed for a second four-year term. Sands edged Republican Dick Haines by 35 votes in 2014 in a race that required a recount. No one else has filed so far.

Reynolds wasn’t re-signed last NFL season after spending six years with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, mainly as a specialty teams player. He trained through the end of December in hopes of landing a free-agent contract, and said he was called to “a few workouts that didn’t work out, but I got some positive feedback.”

Retirement from football “isn’t officially official,” he said, “but I’ve been out a year and coming back is difficult — not to say it would be impossible.”

Reynolds said there’s been talk of him attempting to make a 2018 NFL roster in off-season training sessions.

“But I’m not sure that’s the route I want to go,” Reynolds said. “It’s not so bad to look at what the next chapter of life brings.”

Reynolds and his wife Kila have three children. He said he wants to tackle Missoula’s home affordability issues that make it hard to raise a family here.

He’s taken a real estate class and said he hopes to “do a little bit of that on the side” and maybe try his hand at housing development.

Reynolds finished his high-school football career at Drummond in 2005 with three straight undefeated state championships and Montana’s all-time rushing record under his belt. As a Grizzly, he rushed for 1,500 yards as a junior and senior, breaking UM’s single-season touchdown record with 22 in 2008, then tying it as a senior in 2009. 

“Watching me through high school and here in Missoula, I think people have a good grasp on who I was growing up and who I became as a man,” Reynolds said. “I hope they can relate that to me being in politics, knowing how hard I work and (that I'll) bring that work ethic into anything I end up doing.”

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Mineral County, Veterans Issues Reporter

Outlying communities, transportation, history and general assignment reporter at the Missoulian