Background check

Russ Grimm has been in football for 22 seasons including 11 as a player with the Redskins. He's spent the past 11 years as a coach with Washington and Pittsburgh.

In January of 2000, Russ Grimm became the offensive line coach for the Steelers. Grimm had spent the last 19 years with the Redskins organization, both as a player and as a coach. A changing of the guard had occurred in Washington, with Marty Schottenheimer taking over as head coach, and Grimm was let go. In Pittsburgh, offensive line coach Kent Stephenson, a fixture of the staff for years, had retired. The timing was perfect. The Steelers were looking for an experienced offensive line coach to mentor a group of talented linemen who had not gelled as a unit yet. Russ Grimm was looking for a job with a contending team and wished to work closer to his native Western Pennsylvania.

Grimm's reputation as a coach was one of a teacher who earned the respect of his players, an authority figure who at the same time was a friend. The Steeler line at the time had been revamped and the unit had not found its identity yet. Longtime team leader Dermontti Dawson had retired and his replacement, Jeff Hartings, was an experienced vet but was busy dealing with the move from guard to center. Fellow vet Rich Tylski was dealing with nagging injuries. Marvel Smith was coming off only his first year. Alan Faneca, although playing pro bowl-caliber ball, was still young. Veteran Wayne Gandy had just come off a grueling season playing one-armed due to a torn rotator cuff.

Within two seasons it was obvious that Grimm was the right man for the job. The Steelers had the number one ranked rushing offense in 2001, led by Jerome Bettis wreaking havok while thundering through gaping holes that the Steeler line was opening up for him. Bettis would pile up over 1,000 yards rushing and the team would record an NFL-best 2,774 yards for a 4.8-yard per carry average. Alan Faneca was elected to his first Pro Bowl and many around the league felt that Wayne Gandy deserved the honor also. The unit managed to maintain its quality of play even with the substitutions of inexperienced Oliver Ross and rookie Keydrick Vincent during injuries to Smith and Tylski.

Grimm also has tutored three-year offensive tackle Marvel Smith, who blossomed into a consistent tackle, guard Kendall Simmons, who had an outstanding rookie season in 2002-earning a starting role at right guard in Week 2.

Russ Grimm was a third round draft pick of Washington in 1981 and went on to start 11 seasons at guard on the legendary "Hogs" offensive line, with 4 trips to the Pro Bowl, 3 Super Bowl rings (over 4 appearances), and a first team selection to the All Decade Team of the 80's to show for it. After retiring from playing, he coached the tight ends at Washington for 5 years and the offensive line for another 3 years

Grimm's college career was at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was an All-American center and graduate. He's a native of Scottdale, PA and is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.


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