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Russ Grimm Hall of Fame Induction Speech


The following is Washington great Russ Grimm's speech as he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 7, 2010:

"Thank you. Of all the guys I probably could have picked, I knew picking Joe would start me out being a little bit emotional, but with the humidity and some of the pollen, if I start to tear up a little bit, that's the reason why (smiling).

"First off I'd like to thank the Hall of Fame committee. I want to congratulate my fellow members of the Class of 2010. I want to say congratulations to the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that are sitting up here. I want to say thank you for setting a standard for the rest of us. Thank you for protecting the integrity of the game. Thank you for all the great memories of this sport.

"It's a privilege to play in the NFL. It's been a privilege to coach in the NFL. It's an honor to be selected here in Canton. Thank you.

"I'd like to thank all the owners, especially the Cooke family, Dan Snyder, the Rooney family, and the Bidwell family. I'd like to thank the commissioner. I'd like to thank all the players, past and present, those I played with and those I played against, for making the NFL a special place.

"Growing up, I dreamed of playing college football. In college, I dreamed of playing professional football. When I was in the NFL, I dreamed of winning Super Bowls. I dreamed of winning championships. But I never dreamed that I'd be standing here today. I want to make sure that I thank the people that made this possible.

"First off, I want to thank my two best fans, my two best coaches, my two best friends, mom and dad. They made sure I had all the spikes that I needed. They got me to all the practices. They got me to all the games.

"I'd come home from those games, and my mom would be up on that chair giving me her post-game speech on what I did right, on what I did wrong, and my dad would just sit there smoking that cigarette on telling me what I needed to do to get better. But they taught me family values, they taught me how to respect others, they taught me how to compete and how to be thankful for what I have. Thank you very much.

"I want to say thanks to Karen and my kids, Chad, Cody, Devin, Dylan, for all the sacrifices they made. Proud of you.

"I'd like to thank my brothers Dave and Donn, my sister Carol Sue for their interest they've showed throughout my career. I'd like to thank you Stacey for putting up with me, putting this weekend together. It's been special.

"I'm proud to say that I'm from a small town in Western Pennsylvania. That's right. It's a special part of the country, like here, where the knowledge and the support for the game of football is unmatched. They fill the stadiums on Friday night, Saturday afternoons and Sundays. You created an excitement that growing up as a young man I wanted to be a part of. Thank you very much.

"Scottdale, PA, I will always call you home. Thank you for all your support.

"Southmoreland High School, my coach John Bacha, the administration, the teachers, thank you for creating a strong, healthy, positive environment for myself and the students of Westmoreland County.

"The class of '77, we graduated singing Free Bird. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? Not only did you remember me, you took a special interest, you stayed in touch, you supported and followed my career. For that, I will always remember you. Thank you.

"University of Pittsburgh, I played quarterback and linebacker in high school, I went to the University of Pitt as a linebacker. After my sophomore year, Jackie Sherrill called me into his office and told me that we had a lot of seniors graduating on the offensive line and he thought it would be an opportunity for me to switch over and play center.

"I told him I never had my hand in the dirt, that I'd just stay at linebacker.

"He lifted his eyes up and looked at me and he said, 'Son, I'm not asking.'

"So I moved over. I wasn't very happy about it. But I had a great offensive line coach named Joe Moore. He knew I wasn't happy. I didn't like the transition. But he called me in one day, sat me down, talked about it, told me that I was a football player and I should play whatever position that they thought I was best capable of playing. He told me that playing offensive line, there's no greater feeling than to be able to move a man from Point A to Point B against his will. I tried it; I liked it; and I was playing offensive line (smiling).

"I was fortunate enough to play on a lot of great teams with a lot of great football players, built a lot of friendships. Thank you, Jackie Sherrill. Thank you, Joe Moore. Thank you to all the guys at the University of Pittsburgh.

"I got drafted by the Redskins in '81. I'm a true believer that if you work hard and you have the talent necessary, good things are going to happen. But I'm also smart enough to realize you have to be a little bit lucky and get the right opportunity.

"I was selected to a team that had a new head coach in Joe Gibbs, a staff that included Joe Bugel, and a lot of talented players selected by Bobby Beathard. We struggled early, started winning some games. We finished 8-8 the first year. The next year was the first of three Super Bowl wins. In my 11-year career, we won a lot of football games.

"Through that time I was fortunate because I played with some great veterans, I played with some good young players, I played with some smart veterans. But I'm sitting there an offensive linemen, usually have no stats. Offensive linemen go unnoticed. I know I didn't get here by myself, all right?

"Joe Gibbs, thank you very much. Joe Bugel, you're special. You always will be. Bobby Beathard, thank you.

"Next I want to mention a few guys that made it possible for me to be here today, a group of guys that grew together, worked together, played together, raised families together, celebrated together, guys that I consider family, a group known as the Hogs. Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Mark May, Fred Dean, Donnie Warren, George Starke and Rick Walker. Your names are going to be embroidered on the inside of this jacket so I always remember the things we went through, the tough times we had and the good times we celebrated.

"Mark Schlereth, Raleigh McKenzie, Jim Lachey, Jim Hanifan, all the guys I played with up front, thank you very much and thank you for the memories.

"Last but not least, to burgundy and gold fans, there's many a time when I closed my eyes and I picture myself still putting on those pads at old RFK Stadium, and those stands are rocking up and down and 50 some thousand chanting, We want Dallas. I can hear the diesel horns blowing when 44 was carrying the football, and I remember standing there in the pouring rain when everyone was throwing the seat cushions down on the field in the playoff game versus Atlanta.

"You provided a lot of memories for me and my teammates. You made playing for the Redskins special. You created an atmosphere on game day that was second to none. The support you showed, the enthusiasm you had, the love you displayed for those teams will always be remembered. Thank you very much.

"To all football fans, no matter who you root for, no matter what level, you're the reason we play the game. Thank you very much."

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