There are only a few teams in America with fans as thoughtful and subdued as those of the Montana Grizzlies, so it’s lucky for Tim Hauck that he coaches for one of them: the Philadelphia Eagles. Just a few months after his brother Bobby’s return to the University of Montana, Tim is set to prowl the sidelines of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis during Sunday’s Super Bowl. The one-time Griz safeties coach now holds that same position with the Eagles, a detail you can bet won’t go overlooked by Montana’s football faithful.

Griz fans have long memories for these sorts of things. And they’ll have more than the Haucks to buzz about this year. This week, former Griz running back Chase Reynolds broke some news of his own: He’s running for state office. Apparently the Drummond native has been kicking the idea around for a while. After record-breaking seasons at UM in 2008 and 2009, Reynolds went on to a six-year stint with the St. Louis Rams (now in Los Angeles), but wasn’t re-signed to the team in 2016.

Reynolds has now traded the NFL for a contest against Democratic state Sen. Diane Sands, whose tenure in politics dates back much further than Reynolds’ collegiate football career. She cut her teeth in the state House in the late 1990s, and was widely applauded last year for shepherding the first updates to Montana’s sexual assault laws in decades through the Legislature.

The race will be one to watch closely. Senate District 49 encompasses a large swath of southwestern Missoula County, from the Orchard Homes and Target Range districts to Lolo and the Idaho border. This is just the sort of urban-rural fringe where Missoula Republicans played and won three times in 2016, in House districts 92, 96 and 97.

What Reynolds’ specific policy interests are, we can’t yet say. The only insight he gave news outlets this week is that he’s skeptical about whether Montana is “heading in the right direction.” What we do know is Sands’ track record as a staunch defender of social justice and women’s rights. It remains to be seen whether that will resonate as loudly as the Griz fight song.

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