Grimm and Bear it?

He used to be known as a "Hog" in Washington, but Russ Grimm hopes to be feeding in Chicago pretty soon.

The former Washington Redskins standout offensive lineman and current offensive line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers was at Halas Hall Monday interviewing for the vacant head coaching position with the Bears.

The team announced on Monday that Russ Grimm and St. Louis Rams assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Lovie Smith were the "first two finalists" for the job. More finalists could be added, but no new interviews have been scheduled.

Smith will get his second interview with general manager Jerry Angelo today and will address the media afterwards.

Grimm, who had a solid career as a guard with the Redskins, played in four Super Bowls, winning three, and was voted to four straight Pro Bowls from 1983-86. He's currently among 25 semifinalists being considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Grimm, who retired in 1991 after 11 seasons, has spent the last 12 seasons as an offensive assistant with the Redskins and Steelers. He coached tight ends (1992-96) and offensive linemen ('97-2000) in Washington before going to Pittsburgh, where he's been the offensive line coach under Bill Cowher since 2001.

"I'm a blue-collar guy. I'm meat and potatoes," Grimm said. "I don't send fliers around the league saying I want to be a head coach. They asked for permission on Friday, they called on Saturday, I flew out here (Sunday). It's one of those things where I'm not a big self-promoter type. I'm not calling around the league trying to find the first job that's available.

"Some things are interesting, and this is one of them, and I'm excited about it. Will things turn out? I have no idea, I really don't. Have I been through an interview process before? No. Do I have all the answers? No. Would I say I may make a mistake? Yeah, but that mistake will be corrected and I think I know how to win football games, and that's the bottom line."

Grimm was given the tour of Halas Hall Monday and met with Angelo, CEO Ted Phillips and the McCaskey family. Grimm has never been a head coach, but said he knows it takes "more than one person to run a football team."

He has spent all his 23 years as a player and coach with two franchises with great traditions: Washington and Pittsburgh. He said he knows all about the Bears' history as well and would love to be a part of it.

Grimm has never been a coordinator at any level, but Mike Ditka wasn't one, either, before he became the Bears' head coach. Grimm, 44, said he's not worried about the money or authority in personnel matters. He just wants a shot.

In fact, he's so old school that he doesn't even have an agent.

"I think you have to be a leader to be a head coach. That's the biggest thing," Grimm said. "There have been some great head coaches that have never been a coordinator. There have been some great head coaches that have been a coordinator for one or two years. I don't know where I'll fit. I know how to coach football and I look forward to an opportunity, and hopefully it will arise here."

The Bears have also interviewed New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, and Jim Mora Jr., who was recently named the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Russ Grimm file
* Background: The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach played all 11 seasons at guard for the Washington Redskins. Grimm played in four Super Bowls and made four consecutive Pro Bowls (1983-86). Grimm's 23 years of NFL experience as a player and coach would place him fourth among current NFL head coaches, behind San Diego's Marty Schottenheimer (33), New England's Bill Belichick (26) and the Colts' Tony Dungy (24).


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