Russ Grimm has coached the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive line the last six seasons and has also been the assistant head coach the last three seasons. He played center at the University of Pittsburgh before breaking into the NFL as the left guard of the Washington Redskins in 1981. Grimm played 11 seasons and was part of three Super Bowl titles with the Redskins. He began coaching the Redskins' tight ends in 1992 and took over the offensive line in 1997 and stayed until the end of the 2000 season before joining the Steelers. Here's the transcript from Wednesday's conference with reporters:
What's there to talk about for six hours?
It's a process that I've kind of gotten a little familiar with the last couple of years. It's a thorough process and it's one of those things. They'll make a decision when they're comfortable. I thought things went as well as could be expected. I'm happy with the way things went on my end. But again, gotta sit back and wait for a decision to be made and we'll go from there.
What are you offering the Steelers?
I'm excited about the opportunity. I think it's a point in time in my career where I'm ready to make that next move. It's not like you can say, well this was my record when I was a head coach here or a head coach there. I'm excited about it. I'm confident in my ability to run this football team. Again, the Steelers are built from the ownership, the community. Whether it's me that fills in this spot or somebody else, I think this football team is going to be successful, just simply for the fact of the way it's been built through the years, the way it's been handled, the support it gets from the community. I'm just excited about the opportunity.
Is continuity important?
Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn't. I don't want to get into too many detailed questions. I'm not making that decision. I'm excited about having a chance to be the head coach of this football team.
How long will the process take?
It's a big decision. I know if I was on the other end of the table I'm not going to make the decision until I'm comfortable with somebody. As an assistant coach, I'm not making a decision or calling a play until I'm comfortable with it. It's a process you go through and when they're comfortable with one of the candidates for the job, they'll make a decision and things will move forward.
Is this team close? Or is 8-8 a little more indicative that there's some work ahead?
Obviously there's work wherever you go. Every year there are different teams. You've seen it over the last couple of years: Teams that were in the playoffs the year before, all of the sudden half or more are out the next year. Players move from team to team. You like to think there's a good nucleus on this football team. There's enough ability on this football team. It's just a matter of getting things in place, making sure that chemistry's there from year to year, taking one game at a time, eliminating some mistakes, and we'll see what happens.
Would you say Joe Gibbs was your major football influence?
There was a lot of guys. There's a lot of coaches I either coached for or played for that kind of influenced different characteristics in my style of coaching. There were Jackie Sherrill, Joe Moore from college, Joe Gibbs, coach [Bill] Cowher, Joe Bugel. You pick up a little bit from everything. I don't think it's just one characteristic. You watch how other people do it. I know that the last couple years I kind of watched how Bill handled certain things. You watch the news on how other coaches handle certain situations, how they handle it during the good times, how they react to things during the bad times, how you handle off-the-field things, how you deal with the press, how you deal with the community; things like that. There are a lot of variables that go into it. I wouldn't say it was definitely one guy. I've been blessed to have been around some good coaches. Sometimes we'll be standing there arguing; you may go, ‘well, that didn't rub off on him,' or ‘this didn't rub off on him.' You cross that bridge when you get there.
Were you disappointed that Bill didn't recommend you for this job?
I don't know if that's an accurate statement. It's been said, but it wasn't said to me. It hasn't been said here, so we'll leave that one alone.
Coach, if you did get the job would you be inclined to keep the staff that's in place?
I'm not going to make any comments on staff. We have a lot of good football coaches here. It's evident. We had a Super Bowl run two seasons ago. We have a lot of good football coaches. There's a lot of good football coaches out there. I'm not in a position right now to make decisions or to make comments on those positions.
When you do a lengthy interview such as this, are there portions in which you ask them questions?
There is. I mean, there are certain parts of this job I'm unfamiliar with just because of the experience factor. There's going to be things that I have to deal with that are league factors that haven't come across my desk before. It's kind of a little bit of the unknown. I don't know what goes on at league meetings. I haven't been to a league meeting. Those things kind of excite you as to see what happens. Again, I feel confident in the other areas of coaching a football team, but there's a lot more that goes into it.
Russ, concerning your resume, could you be any more prepared? What do you not know about the football part of it?
There's always things that come up different. Again, I feel confident as far as when to use timeouts, when to throw the flag, when to run, when to pass, when to punt, when to go for it. Those are decisions that sometimes are gut feelings. Sometimes everyone in the stands feels one way and you feel the other. Am I saying I'm not going to make any mistakes? No. I imagine that the longer you coach the more things you see and when those things come up you learn from them. I don't know if I need more on the resume or whatever. It's exciting. It's flattering to have the chance to get it, and it's kind of exciting once you go through the process and see what is all involved.
How do you deal with all the different personalities of the players?
Just like we're standing in the room here. Everybody has a different personality. Part of the job is to take those different personalities, take those different backgrounds – whether it be religion, whether it be race, whether it be habits off the field – and try to blend that group into one machine on Sunday. And it takes different parts. Everybody's not going to be the same. Everybody in the media's not going to be the same. There's people you go to work with. You say: I like talking to this guy; this guy's a good worker but he has no personality; this guy's a pain in the butt. It's in every profession. You've got to be able to deal with it and if everybody's working toward the same result, you'll make some progress.