A standout offensive lineman who also served as the reserve punter at the University of Pittsburgh, Russ Grimm easily made the transition from college to the pros. The Washington Redskins selected him in the third round, 69th player overall, of the 1981 National Football League Draft. Originally pegged to play center, the position at which he excelled at Pitt, Grimm was moved to left guard where he earned a starting role as a rookie.
The 6’3″, 273-pound Grimm became a steadying force on the Redskins vaunted offensive line of the 1980s that earned the nickname “The Hogs.” By his second season in the NFL, Grimm gained much notice from around the league. Teaming with tackle Joe Jacoby, the pair formed what was perhaps the most punishing side of an offensive line in football at the time. With Grimm utilizing his speed and strength, the Redskins rode the success of a dominating running attack all the way to a victory in Super Bowl XVII. In that game, Hall of Fame fullback John Riggins gained a then-record 166 yards. Washington had averaged an astonishing 152 yards during that season’s playoffs.
It was in his third pro year, in 1983, that Grimm began reaping the rewards of his efforts. He was selected to the first of four straight Pro Bowls. That season also marked the first of four consecutive years (1983-86) that he earned All-Pro recognition. Grimm was also named All-NFC in each of those seasons.
In 1987, Grimm was moved to center in training camp and started five games at the position before he suffered a torn ligament in his left knee that sidelined him until the season finale. The following year, Grimm again suffered cartilage damage to his left knee which forced him to miss 11 games. Although he remained a guiding force on the Redskins front line he continued to battle various injuries through the remainder of his career.
Grimm appeared in five NFC championship games during his 11-year, 140-game career. He also helped the Redskins to four Super Bowl appearances including wins in Super Bowls XVII, XXII, and XXVI. It was after the Redskins win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI that Grimm announced his retirement.
One of the most feared guards of his era, Grimm was elected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1980s.
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