…The presence he had about him. By the time he joined Washington he knew he was headed for the Hall of Fame. There was a different aura about him than there was around pretty much every other player. He knew he was great. Period. Once, someone asked him about Marco Coleman's double-digit sack season he was having and Smith let everyone know part of the reason stemmed from who was on the other side: him.
…One thing I'll always remember about Smith involved an innocuous interview I was conducting with him. No other reporters were around and I needed about 4-5 questions. I don't remember the topic, but I'm pretty sure it involved another ex-Bill. Anyway, a bunch of other reporters gathered around and one started to ask a question. Smith looked at him and said, ‘'I'll answer your questions when I'm finished with his.'' He meant finished with me. So I asked a couple more and then he went on to the others. But that doesn't happen very often.
…There are things that make me laugh about him, like the day he set the sack record in the Meadowlands, jumping on piles late and lining up extra wide and wearing the robe in the locker room afterward. But the above story will also always stay with me.
…Smith was one of two players who I knew for sure were glad that Marty Schottenheimer did not return. Both he and Darrell Green knew that they'd be out of a job if he did. Both had a clear path to the owner's office and used it.
…Of that infamous 2000 class at least Smith gave about what the Redskins expected. You can't say that about Mark Carrier or Jeff George or Deion Sanders. Smith lasted four years, which wasn't bad.
..I also remember Smith talking about how he was a pudgy kid and had been teased because of it and how he eventually started to develop. But it's a good lesson in not writing a kid off if they're overweight. You never know.
…A few teammates would roll their eyes at him, especially over the robe. You really had to be in the cramped Meadowlands locker room to appreciate the folly. And it was the one time where there was a lot of laughter in the press box watching Smith during the game and how badly he wanted to set the record that day.
...I'm not surprised Russ Grimm did not make it and I wonder if he ever will. In writing three books about the Redskins, whenever I'd write about the Hogs they always talked about how they were more impressive as a unit than they were individually. But as time goes on don't be surprised if you start to see more of them talking about how Grimm was much better than them, just to get one of them in the Hall. Grimm was a fantastic player and it's hard to believe that one of them wouldn't be in the Hall. Maybe it's because none of them had a lot of Pro Bowls. And maybe that tells you what's wrong with judging based on the Pro Bowl alone.
...Anyway, one voter called me before going into the room to see if I had any quotes from any of these books where perhaps an opposing player had singled out Grimm. In the three books there weren't any. It was always about the group.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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Bruce Smith Makes the Hall, Grimm Thoughts
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