Hall of Fame guard Russ Grimm begins his sixth season with the Cardinals as the assistant head coach/offensive line after joining the team on 1/23/07. Grimm spent his first two seasons as assistant head coach/offensive line and was given the additional title of run game coordinator from 2009-10. Previously with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the same capacity, Grimm is beginning his 21st season as an NFL assistant after playing 11 years at guard for the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August of 2010 after having been a finalist the previous four years (2006-09).
Grimm spent six seasons with the Steelers coaching with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt before coming to Arizona. He joined the Steelers staff in 2001 as only the second offensive line coach in Bill Cowher's tenure and made an instant impact in developing Pittsburgh’s offensive line. Grimm's value to the coaching staff was recognized by Cowher, who promoted Grimm to assistant head coach prior to the 2004 season, the only coach to hold that title under Cowher.
Last season, Grimm’s unit helped lead the way for running back Beanie Wells, who rushed for career highs with 245 carries for 1,047 yards and 10 TD’s, becoming the first player in team history to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s in the same season. Wells also set the franchise single-game rushing record with 228 yards against St. Louis. In 2009, the Cardinals finished with 16 rushing touchdowns, the highest team total since recording 18 in 1998. Wells rushed for 793 yards, the second most in the NFL among rookies and his seven touchdowns in 2009 were tied (Denver-Knowshon Moreno) for tops among rookie running backs. In 2008, Grimm’s five offensive linemen started all 20 games during the regular season and postseason including Super Bowl XLIII. The offense finished with a top five ranking (4th overall) for the second consecutive season and rookie running back Tim Hightower set a franchise rookie mark with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Grimm made an immediate impact in his first season with Arizona in 2007. His offensive line allowed only 24 sacks, sixth best in the NFL and the fewest given up by the Cardinals since 1978 (22). Grimm’s offensive line also paved the way for running back Edgerrin James to rush for 1,222 yards, the fifth best total in team history.
The 2006 Steelers offensive line helped pave the way for running back Willie Parker to gain 1,494 yards and 13 touchdowns on 337 carries (4.4 yard avg.) and earn his first Pro Bowl selection. Pittsburgh’s offense finished the 2006 season with the 10th best rushing attack in the NFL, helping to give the Steelers the seventh ranked total offense in the league. Parker finished the season with the second and third top rushing performances of the year in the NFL with 223 rushing yards (32 att., TD) against Cleveland (12/7) and 213 yards (22 att., 2 TDs) vs. New Orleans (11/12).
Under Grimm’s guidance in 2005, the Super Bowl champion Steelers averaged nearly 140 yards rushing per game during the regular season to rank fifth in the NFL while also grinding out 181 rushing yards in their Super Bowl XL victory over the Seattle Seahawks. While in Pittsburgh, Grimm molded a formidable and tough offensive front anchored by All-Pro guard Alan Faneca, a six-time Pro Bowler, and center Jeff Hartings, who made his second Pro Bowl appearance in 2006 and developed into one of the best centers in the NFL in just six seasons.
A native of Scottdale, PA, Grimm began his NFL coaching career as Washington’s tight ends coach (1992-96) before moving to coach the Redskins offensive line for four seasons (1997-2000). He is credited with the development of Washington tackles Jon Jansen and five-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels, who each earned starting spots as rookies on the Redskins offensive line.
Grimm started 11 seasons at guard for the Redskins (1981-91) and helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances and three victories. He was voted to four consecutive Pro Bowls (1983-86), was a first-team selection to the 1980s all-decade team, and an original member of Washington’s renowned “Hogs” offensive line. During his playing days with the Redskins, Grimm was a teammate of Whisenhunt (1989-90).
He was among the 17 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for three consecutive years (2007-09) and among the 10 finalists in 2006.
An All-American center at Pitt who helped his team to a 22-2 record over his junior and senior seasons, Grimm was selected by the Redskins in the third round (69th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft. His younger brother, Donn, was a starting linebacker on Notre Dame's 1988 national championship team and signed with the Cardinals as a rookie free agent in 1991.
Grimm punted, played quarterback and linebacker at Southmoreland High School while earning nine varsity letters and starring on the basketball team. He was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He has four children, Chad, an offensive assistant with the Cardinals, Cody, who was drafted by the Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft and fraternal twins Devin and Dylan.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians stops by NFL Total Access to give his thoughts on the current NFL playoff system and hints at which players he will be targeting in free agency and the draft.
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