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Russ Grimm and the Hogs of lore paved the way for Washington Redskins greatness

Redskins fans flocked to Canton, Ohio, to see former Hog Russ Grimm inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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And his teammates would show up the next day with the word "Hog" written on their practice jerseys. When Buges asked for an explanation, "We said, 'We're in solidarity with Russ, sir,' " Starke said. "You hurt his feelings when you called him a hog."

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A nickname for an offensive unit was born that day for a team and a proud football town, which just happened to be the nation's capital.

Grimmie and the Hogs.

With a cooler loaded with Coors and Bud Lights and other assorted beverages - "They wouldn't discriminate if something else was brought in," Starke said - they bonded in a shed that housed the grass-cutting equipment by the practice field every day at a certain time.

The 5 O'clock Club, they called them.

It's where Riggo and friends could down a brew, Russ could chew his Copenhagen and Joe Jacoby could bring back his favorite sandwich from Merino's in Fairfax, two pieces of Sicilian pizza pressed together with chopped beef and white, runny cheese spilling over the sides - the Hog Cheesesteak, named for him.

"You ever hear the story of the day they asked John Madden and Pat Summerall to come over and see the shed?" Starke asked. "Four or five hours later, they both walked out totally drunk. They had to go interview Tom Landry because of a Cowboys game that week. I heard Landry saw them and was so angry he wouldn't let them interview his players. So the telecast that week was all about the Redskins. True story."

Fittingly, none of these tales are solely about Grimm. Because while he probably doesn't get into Canton if nemeses such as White and Matt Millen don't give testimonial interviews on his behalf, while the grit and gross-out antics have taken on a real-men lore of their own and Grimm was indeed as smart and athletic - once the team's third-string quarterback - as he was tough and nasty, he was just one.

They all planned to be there Saturday, from different Hog eras. Starke, the Head Hog. Bostic. Jim Lachey. Mark May. Rick "Doc" Walker. Jacoby, Donnie Warren, Mark Schlereth, Raleigh McKenzie. Jim Hanifan. Fred Dean.

Grimm's day is their day.

During his induction speech, Grimm never became emotional, but instead gave heartfelt thanks to the people who helped put him into Canton.

The greatest revelation was that he never wanted to play offensive line in college, but was told to move from linebacker to center by Pittsburgh Coach Jackie Sherrill. His position coach told Grimm, "There's no greater feeling than being able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will."

"I tried it. I liked it. I played offensive line," Grimm said.

He finished his induction speech with a tribute to fans, especially the ones who blew 'Diesel' horns for John Riggins and turned every Sunday at RFK into "Friday Night Lights."

The names of his teammates on the Redskins offensive line, he said, would be embroidered inside his yellow Hall of Fame jacket.

Lachey proposed a novel idea in February when Grimm became the first of his linemates to get into Canton, 14 years after Grimm was eligible, 16 years after White, the man whose behind he kicked, was inducted.

Why not have a wing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame dedicated to the units of men who were better together than by themselves - the Steel Curtain, the Doomsday Defense, the Purple People Eaters, the Silver and Black Attack and, of course, the Hogs?

The Hogs' display would feature their mud-caked jerseys, their old coolers, empty beer cans and a black-and-white photo of Russ Grimm and his teammates trapped in time in that shed, reminiscing about the day they whooped Randy White and the Cowboys - the day the journey began.


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