By Steve Ginsburg
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russ Grimm's tireless work ethic during an 11-year NFL career was befitting of a man who grew up in a gritty, blue-collar borough outside of Pittsburgh.
"I grew up in a small town," said Grimm, a native of Scottdale, about 45 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. "Dad worked in a paper factory and mom did the books for a local clothing store.
"Hey, you have a job, you go to work, that's the bottom line. When work's over, have a cold beer, relax, and enjoy the evening."
Grimm, who won three Super Bowls with the Redskins as a member of the fabled "Hogs," received the NFL's highest honor in August when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Offensive linemen in the NFL toil in relative anonymity but Grimm and the rest of the burly Hogs, Jeff Bostic, Mark May, Joe Jacoby and George Starke, along with tight ends Don Warren and Rick "Doc" Walker were wildly popular.
Grimm's career was celebrated earlier this month at FedEx Field before Washington hosted Indianapolis and fans roared when he walked onto the field, a reminder the team's glory years.
"It's still sinking in," Grimm told reporters about his induction into the Hall of Fame. "Being there in Canton (Ohio) with the family and friends.
"You know, I'm 51-years-old and to sit in a room and talk to a lot of the guys that were your heroes growing up and now you're a part of that club, it makes it special."
NEVER LOOKED BACK
Grimm, the first of the Hogs to make the Hall of Fame, said that unlike a quarterback or running back an offensive lineman has no sexy statistics to make enshrinement a foregone conclusion.
"There are no other stats other than we won a bunch of games," he said. "I think that's the biggest reason. Hopefully, we'll get a couple more (Hogs) in."
"I played against a veteran in my rookie year who was a little past his career," he recalled. "He was one of my idols when I played against him and I kind of dominated him in that game.
"The feeling after that game in my rookie year was that I'm never going to hang on and play the game less than I was capable of playing."
Injuries started to pile up over the last few years of his career.
"There were times I played three games and I was out two," he said. "Played two, out one. Things were starting to fall apart. Could I play? Yes. But could I play at the level I was used to playing? No.
"It was time for me to say: 'Let's move on to something else.'"
Longtime Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel, who coined the phrase Hogs during training camp in 1982, said Grimm was "the greatest player I ever coached."
"He was like a son to me," said Bugel. "I treated him ugly for many, many years and he responded quite well. The bottom line is that he's a Hall of Famer."
"I enjoy what I'm doing," he said. "If it's the right place at the right time, everything is set the way I want it, then that will be something I do."
(Editing by Dave Thompson)