Q&A with: Russ Grimm

The Ex-Redskin is a wanted man. Washington would have liked him to join Joe Gibbs' staff as an offensive coordinator. But Chicago has bigger ideas for him: the Bears might want him as their head coach. Grimm interviewed with the Bears Monday and here's what he had to say.

Q: What did you take from Joe Gibbs and Bill Cowher?

A: I think it's a combination of everything. It's just like the way everybody grows. Kids growing up, they take certain qualities from mom, certain qualities from dad. In football I've got qualities from Joe Moore, an offensive line coach I had in college. I've got qualities from Joe Gibbs. I've got qualities from Joe Bugel, Jim Hannifan, I've got things from Bill Cowher. I think it's a combination of everything and I think I'm smart enough to know that some qualities you like, some qualities you don't like. You're also smart enough to realize that some things work. They may not always be right, they might not always be wrong. There's more than one way to skin a cat. The bottom line is to win football games.

Q: Have you talked to Joe Gibbs?

A: No, I have not talked to Washington. That was a lot of speculation. Joe Gibbs is a great coach. I played for him, I coached with him. He hired me to coach when I retired. He's a great football coach. He's got that area excited. I imagine he's going to do well, but there have been no talks about going back to Washington. That's really not an issue.

Q: Why did you get into coaching?

A: We won a Super Bowl the '91 season, the '92 Super Bowl we beat Buffalo. They had Plan B back then and I retired. I retired because it wasn't because I didn't think I could play anymore. I couldn't play at the level that I was accustomed to playing. After 11 years you get nicked up a little bit and that was fine.

When I retired I had no idea what I wanted to do. Joe Gibbs asked me what I wanted to do. I said I've never planned anything yet. Something will fall into place. May dig ditches for a living. May work in a steel mill for a living. Whatever happens happens. A month later he called me and asked me if I would like to coach the tight ends, at which time I accepted the job. Is it as exciting as playing? No, it's not, but when you're done, it's the next best thing to being there. I get excited coaching football because I want to see players do well. I want to see them succeed. I get more upset when they fail, we fail. I probably get more excited when things go well and we do well and they do well. It's exciting.

Q: What do you like about Chicago?

A: I'm excited about the tradition part. I've been in this league 23 years, player and coach. I've been in two organizations that are great in tradition, the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think the Chicago Bears fit in that category. There are certain teams in this league that I would not fit in as a head coach, I would not be interested in as a head coach. The Chicago Bears are not one of them. The Chicago Bears are built on a type of pride, a type of character, a style of football that I think these fans appreciate, that knowledgeable football fans appreciate and hopefully that's something that I would be a part of getting this organization back into.

Q: When did this process begin?

A: It came up quick. I'm a blue collar guy. I'm a meat and potatoes … I don't have an agent. I don't send flyers 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 yesterday. 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.

Q: Mike Ditka wasn't a coordinator before he was a head coach. What are your thoughts about possibly making a similar move?

A: I don't want to take away from anybody that's been a coordinator, but I don't think you have to have coordinator experience. A coordinator is in charge of the four or five guys that are the position coaches. As an offensive line, you coach 6-7 guys that are in charge of position. That's what he is, he's a coordinator. He coordinates what those five assistant coaches plug in together, so on a specific play, everything is done A,B,C,D …. 1-2-3-4. That's the way it's supposed to be.

I think you have to be a leader to be a head coach. That's the biggest thing. 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.


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