Saturday night marked a momentous occasion for the burgundy and gold faithful as one of their own, Russ Grimm, was enshrined into the hallowed walls of Canton as one of the seven members of the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
His entry marked the first of hopefully many Hogs to make his way into the Mecca of pro football history. This past weekend was the culmination of an arduous process that shows how tough it is for an interior offensive lineman to get recognized as one of the best in the history of the game, especially when there is so much talent on the same line during his whole career.
To make his journey even more incredible, Grimm didn’t start his football career on the offensive line or even the defensive line.
“I played quarterback and linebacker in high school,” Grimm said during his induction speech.
“I went to the University of Pitt as a linebacker and after my sophomore year (Head Coach) Jackie Sherrill called me into his office and told me that we had a lot of seniors graduating on the offensive line and he thought it would be an opportunity for me to switch over and play center. I told him I never had my hand in the dirt, that I’d just stay at linebacker. He lifted his eyes up and he looked at me and he says ‘Son,’ he says, ‘I’m not askin’.”
Being a young college athlete, Grimm couldn’t help but oblige. Begrudgingly accepting his position switch, he quickly changed his tune and gladly embraced the physicality he thought he would miss once he was taken away from his linebacker role.
"So I moved over. I wasn't very happy about it. But I had a great offensive line coach named Joe Moore. He knew I wasn't happy. I didn't like the transition. But he called me in one day, sat me down, talked about it and told me that I was a football player and I should play whatever position that they thought I was best capable of playing. He told me that playing offensive line, there's no greater feeling than to be able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will. I tried it; I liked it; and I was playing offensive line (smiling).”
Spoken like a true Hog, Grimm took pride in his new role as an offensive lineman, overpowering defenders that dared try to take down the likes of John Riggins, Joe Washington, Gerald Riggs, or anyone else who proudly galloped behind The Hogs.
His playing career lasted 11 seasons, all in Washington, and provided him with three Super Bowl rings and four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1983-1986 as well as being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1980’s.
“Growing up, I dreamed of playing college football. In college, I dreamed of playing professional football. When I was in the NFL I dreamed of winning Super Bowls. I dreamed of winning championships but I never dreamed that I would be standing here today,” Grimm said.
Hopefully Grimm’s inclusion in Canton can pave the way for more of the original Hogs such as Jacoby, Bostic or May or even a member of the later generation of Hogs such as Lachey or Schlereth to stand where he stood when he gave his speech. Only one step at a time can be taken in this process but this past weekend fans witnessed the display of a giant first step in forever recognizing and immortalizing what Redskins fans have already come to know as the greatest offensive line ever assembled.