Russ Grimm Enshrinement speech

Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium
August 7, 2010


Joe Bugel (presenter):
I’m Joe Bugel and Russ Grimm is an example for others. The first day he walked on the field with his shoulder pads on, we knew we had a winner. He is without a doubt the smartest football player I’ve ever been around. Nobody in the 32 years in the NFL I coached. 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 knock you on your back.  He led by example, preparation, practice, play. 

I was so hard on that man right there, especially his first year.  When we went to training camp, I told the whole group it’s gonna be a lot of pain and torture, because we are gonna start four rookies.  NFC East – Randy White, Reggie White, Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor.

We never accepted mediocrity; it was going to be physical, tough, nasty, smart, and violent.  That group was rare. That group made me a better football coach.  I loved them and worked them to death.

We had some guys who had great curved up bellies and I said ‘Ok you hogs.  Let’s get down in that bull pen and get started.’  And that name caught on and it gave that group a sense of identity. Without a doubt he was the head Hog, on the field, off the field. He just had that certain charisma that a leader has.

There’s one game that I’ll never ever forget. It was going to be Dallas or Washington going to the Super Bowl.  We had them up by maybe two touchdowns.  Coach Gibbs come up and he said Bugs what do you want to run. I said ‘50-Gut. Let’s run right at Randy, not away from him.’

So Randy was lined up against Grimm and it was one after another, plus 5, plus 6, plus 5.  We get in the huddle.  What’s the play? 50-Gut. We ran it 10 straight times. That’s when Randy White realized that Russ Grimm was not only a great football player but a Hall of Fame football player.”

Narrator (Steve Sabol):
Russ Grimm was chosen to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1980s. He anchored the offensive line for 11 seasons with the Washington Redskins and helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances and three world titles.

I can remember one big play. We ran over again Russ Grimm and Joe Jacobyour left side and Donnie Ward.  It was fourth down and one and Joe said ‘What do we have to do?’ Our offensive staff said ’70-Chip, we’re gonna live with that.

When you see Russ Grimm come on the football field you say hey that’s a real NFL All-Pro and that’s a real NFL Hall of Famer. He was legit, nothing phony about the guy. He could play with pain and injury. I love and respect the young man and I will go to my grave saying that. It’s like I had a son and my son was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He would do anything I asked him to do and I would do anything he’d ask me to do. We are very, very close. I am so proud of him.

I am honored to present Russ Grimm for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Russ Grimm:
Thank you.  Of all the guys I probably could have picked, I knew picking Joe would start me out being a little bit emotional, but with the humidity and some of the pollen, if I start to tear up a little bit, that's the reason why (smiling).

First off I'd like to thank the Hall of Fame committee.  I want to congratulate my fellow members of the Class of 2010.  I want to say congratulations to the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that are sitting up here.  I want to say thank you for setting a standard for the rest of us.  Thank you for protecting the integrity of the game.  Thank you for all the great memories of this sport.

It's a privilege to play in the NFL.  It's been a privilege to coach in the NFL.  It's an honor to be selected here in Canton.  Thank you.

I'd like to thank all the owners, especially the Cooke family, Dan Snyder, the Rooney family, and the Bidwell family.  I'd like to thank the commissioner.  I'd like to thank all the players, past and present, those I played with and those I played against, for making the NFL a special place.

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'd be standing here today.  I want to make sure that I thank the people that made this possible.

First off, I want to thank my two best fans, my two best coaches, my two best friends, mom and dad.  They made sure I had all the spikes that I needed.  They got me to all the practices.  They got me to all the games.

I'd come home from those games, and my mom would be up on that chair giving me her post-game speech on what I did right, on what I did wrong, and my dad would just sit there smoking that cigarette on telling me what I needed to do to get better.  But they taught me family values, they taught me how to respect others, they taught me how to compete and how to be thankful for what I have.  Thank you very much.

I want to say thanks to Karen and my kids, Chad, Cody, Devin, Dylan, for all the sacrifices they made.  Proud of you.

I'd like to thank my brothers Dave and Donn, my sister Carol Sue for their interest they've showed throughout my career.  I'd like to thank you Stacey for putting up with me, putting this weekend together.  It's been special.

I'm proud to say that I'm from a small town in Western PA.  That's right.  It's a special part of the country, like here, where the knowledge and the support for the game of football is unmatched.  They fill the stadiums on Friday night, Saturday afternoons and Sundays.  You created an excitement that growing up as a young man I wanted to be a part of.  Thank you very much.

Scottdale, PA, I will always call you home.  Thank you for all your support.

Southmoreland High School, my coach John Bacha, the administration, the teachers, thank you for creating a strong, healthy, positive environment for myself and the students of Westmoreland County.

The class of '77, we graduated singing Free Bird.  If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?  Not only did you remember me, you took a special interest, you stayed in touch, you supported and followed my career.  For that, I will always remember you.  Thank you.

University of Pittsburgh, I played quarterback and linebacker in high school, I went to the University of Pitt as a linebacker.  After my sophomore year, 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 looked at me and he said, son, I'm not asking.

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, 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).

I was fortunate enough to play on a lot of great teams with a lot of great football players, built a lot of friendships.  Thank you, Jackie Sherrill.  Thank you, Joe Moore.  Thank you to all the guys at the University of Pittsburgh.

I got drafted by the Redskins in '81.  I'm a true believer that if you work hard and you have the talent necessary, good things are going to happen.  But I'm also smart enough to realize you have to be a little bit lucky and get the right opportunity.

I was selected to a team that had a new head coach in Joe Gibbs, a staff that included Joe Bugel, and a lot of talented players selected by Bobby Beathard.  We struggled early, started winning some games.  We finished 8-8 the first year.  The next year was the first of three Super Bowl wins.  In my 11-year career, we won a lot of football games.

Through that time I was fortunate because I played with some great veterans, I played with some good young players, I played with some smart veterans.  But I'm sitting there an offensive linemen, usually have no stats.  Offensive linemen go unnoticed.  I know I didn't get here by myself, all right?

Joe Gibbs, thank you very much.  Joe Bugel, you're special.  You always will be.  Bobby Beathard, thank you.

Next I want to mention a few guys that made it possible for me to be here today, a group of guys that grew together, worked together, played together, raised families together, celebrated together, guys that I consider family, a group known as the Hogs.  Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Mark May, Fred Dean, Donnie Warren, George Starke and Rick Walker.  Your names are going to be embroidered on the inside of this jacket so I always remember the things we went through, the tough times we had and the good times we celebrated.

Mark Schlereth, Raleigh McKenzie, Jim Lachey, Jim Hanifan, all the guys I played with up front, thank you very much and thank you for the memories.

Last but not least, to burgundy and gold fans, there's many a time when I closed my eyes and I picture myself still putting on those pads at old RFK Stadium, and those stands are rocking up and down and 50 some thousand chanting, We want Dallas.  I can hear the diesel horns blowing when 44 was carrying the football, and I remember standing there in the pouring rain when everyone was throwing the seat cushions down on the field in the playoff game versus Atlanta.

You provided a lot of memories for me and my teammates.  You made playing for the Redskins special.  You created an atmosphere on game day that was second to none.  The support you showed, the enthusiasm you had, the love you displayed for those teams will always be remembered.  Thank you very much.

To all football fans, no matter who you root for, no matter what level, you're the reason we play the game.  Thank you very much.