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Philip Rivers Endorses Rick Santorum, Citing 'Christian Values,' Ahead Of Alabama Primary

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SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers calls signals during the game with the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Raiders won 24-17.
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers calls signals during the game with the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on November 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Raiders won 24-17.

Shortly after Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith publicly endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection, another NFL figure has thrown his helmet into the political ring. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has endorsed Rick Santorum in his quest to win the Republican presidential nomination.

In a press release posted on Santorum's website, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is quoted, citing the candidate's dedication to "Christian values" in explaining his choice.

"I am supporting Rick Santorum for President because of his stance on issues that attack vital Christian values our country was founded upon: no abortion, upholding traditional marriage, defending religious freedom, no euthanasia. Rick Santorum will also fight to create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans. I am proud to endorse Senator Santorum and do what I can to help him secure the Republican nomination for President of the United States."

Amidst reports that Santorum is losing the support of fellow Catholics, Rivers has left little doubt that his support is based in their shared religious beliefs. A native of Decatur, Alabama, Rivers has pledged his support just days before the Alabama primary on Tuesday. Rivers has frequently spoken about being a Catholic and promoted chastity among teens, describing it as "a lost art."

This is also not the first time that the religious signal caller has entered the political sphere. In a May 2009 interview with The Sporting News, Rivers discussed his support for a California ballot initiative (Prop 4) that would have prohibited abortion for minors until 48 hours after a doctor had notified a parent or legal guardian. The initiative was defeated. Asked during that same interview if he had publicly supported a state ballot initiative to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, Rivers indicated that he had not gotten involved but stated that "I have the stance that you would imagine."

Throughout his campaign, Santorum has made it clear that he is a staunch opponent of gay marriage. He is also strongly anti-abortion, even in cases of rape. While these views seem to resonate with Rivers, they did not bring out the Catholic vote for Santorum during the Ohio Primary on Super Tuesday. According to The Christian Science Monitor, Santorum lost the Catholic vote to Mitt Romney by 13 points. He did, however, perform very well with Evangelical voters.

Both Rivers and Santorum are likely hoping that the endorsement of an NFL player can make a difference in a state as passionate about football as Alabama.

WATCH: Philip Rivers endorses chastity

 
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