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Russ Grimm among seven greats inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 7, 2010; 10:57 PM

CANTON, OHIO- Russ Grimm was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame here Saturday and told the other members of the Washington Redskins' famed "Hogs" offensive lines that he was sharing the moment with them.

Grimm, a guard who was a key member of those blocking units that helped the Redskins to win three Super Bowls in the 1980s and early '90s and brought attention to offensive line play in the NFL, was enshrined among the sport's all-time greats in an evening ceremony that included career rushing leader Emmitt Smith and career receiving leader Jerry Rice.

Many of his fellow Hogs were seated in the crowd as Grimm was introduced by former Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel and gave his acceptance speech, and Grimm said he recognized that he was entering the Hall of Fame as a representative of the group.

"Offensive linemen usually have no stats," Grimm said. "Offensive linemen go unnoticed. I know I didn't get here by myself."

Grimm addressed his fellow Hogs directly at one point during his speech, and said: "Your names are gonna be embroidered on the inside of this jacket so I always remember the things we went through, the tough times we had and good times we celebrated."

Grimm was elected in February, in his 14th year of eligibility, by the media members who serve as Hall of Fame selectors. He was officially inducted here Saturday as part of a seven-member class that also included Rickey Jackson, John Randle, Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau.

Bugel, in pre-recorded comments that were shown on the video boards at the stadium, called Grimm "the head Hog-on the field, off the field."

Said Bugel: "Nobody made adjustments like Russ Grimm. He was our coach on the football field. That's how much trust I had in him. He was a guy that could drop you on your back.. . .That group was rare. That group made me a better football coach. I loved them and worked them to death."

Grimm remained composed throughout his speech but called those who played alongside him on the Redskins' offensive lines the equivalent of family members, and recalled the franchise's glory days at RFK Stadium when the fans would rock the stands and chant about wanting to play the Dallas Cowboys.

"Growing up, I dreamed of playing college football," said Grimm, a former offensive line coach for the Redskins and now the offensive line coach and assistant head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. "In college, I dreamed of playing professional football. When I was in the NFL, I dreamed of winning Super Bowls. But I never dreamed that I'd be standing here today."

Grimm became the first member of the Hogs to be enshrined in Canton.

"I was hoping they would put them in as a unit," former Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard said about a half-hour before the ceremony as he sat in front of the stage that was set up on the field. "They said they don't do that. But I'm thrilled. It's great for all of us. I've been with Russ's old teammates this weekend, and they're thrilled for him. He was a great player, and he was one of those guys where the other players loved to play with him. That group, they stuck together."

Grimm played for the Redskins between the 1981 and '91 seasons. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL's all-decade team of the '80s. Grimm played in five NFC championship games and four Super Bowls.

"I remember when we drafted him, we had Russ rated ahead of Mark May," Beathard said. "But with all the rumors going around during the draft, we thought Mark might get taken. So we took him in the first round. I didn't think we'd be able to get Russ, too. But there he was in the third round and we got him. He's never forgiven me for the money difference there. He got the short end on that deal. But it worked out okay."

Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs was among the Hall of Famers seated on the stage. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was in attendance, was among those thanked by Grimm in his speech and hosted a reception for Grimm after the ceremony. Bubba Tyer, the team's longtime head athletic trainer, handed out hats to members of the Redskins' contingent to commemorate the occasion. The hats had Grimm's name and No. 68 on the front, and on the back was written: "A Hog in the Hall of Fame."

Tyer handed one of the caps to former Redskins offensive tackle Joe Jacoby as Jacoby sat down to watch the ceremony. Jacoby played alongside Grimm on the left side of the Redskins' offensive line, and some observers say he deserves to join Grimm in the Hall of Fame at some point. Jacoby said he was pleased to see his friend honored and the Hogs represented in Canton.

"It's just neat to finally see it happen for someone from that group," Jacoby said. "It has finally come, and it's great. It's neat for me because of the relationship that Russ and I had, being roommates and coming in together. It's been kind of chaotic the last couple days, but I'm so happy to see it happen and I'm really going to enjoy sitting here and watching it."

Grimm was enshrined with a former college teammate at Pittsburgh, Jackson, and a former fellow Steelers assistant coach, LeBeau. The entire Steelers team traveled from training camp in Latrobe, Pa., to see LeBeau, the club's defensive coordinator, go into the Hall of Fame.

"I told several of them before I left, 'I wouldn't want to be here without you,' " LeBeau said, addressing his players in the stands directly at one point during his speech.

Rice and Smith were the evening's headliners. "I played for 20 years," Rice said, "and I still believe in my heart I could play today."

Smith was greeted by a loud ovation from the large number of Cowboys fans in attendance. "I wanted to become the all-time leading rusher, period," Smith said during his sometimes-emotional speech.

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