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Joe Gibbs's favorite Russ Grimm story



As Russ Grimm's induction date approaches, there will be plenty more stories from the past. Most, with any luck, will involve alcohol. Joe Gibbs was on John Riggins's radio show on WTOP 103.5 HD-3 thiss week, and Riggo asked Gibbs about the man they called Rusty.

"The one thing I'll always remember about Russ and Joe and that crew, they would always get away from us a little bit in those afternoons when we had those Wednesday scrimmages in Carlisle," Gibbs said. "And I got in the huddle one night, and I mean, the smell of beer was so strong, that I backed out of there after calling the play.

"And in between plays, I turned to Bugel and I said I've got to tell you something right now, somebody in there has had some beers, ok? And Bugel went and got those guys. I don't know if you remember this, I kind of turned my back and walked off for a few minutes, he got everybody in the huddle and said this better be the best practice of your life or you guys are gonna be running wind sprints for the rest of your life. So Russ goes, I plead guilty."

Of course, a charming story about boozing linemen from the '80s would immediately become a horrific story about lazy linemen if it involved the words "Albert Haynesworth" and "2010," but hey, times change. Riggins asked Gibbs if it was true that 2007 was his most gratifying season as a head football coach, and while the answer is long, it's probably worth quoting in full.

"There's so many, you can't separate them," Gibbs said. "We had a run there, over that first 11 years, you go to 4 Super Bowls, that's one thing I hope doesn't get lost. And sometimes when they talk about the teams of the '80s and the '90s, I think sometimes the Redskins, we kind of get left out.

"Ours was starting in with our 82 Super Bowl, and it went through '91. Because four Super Bowls in 11 years is pretty awesome. Now, having said, one of the thrills of my life was that last season I was there, and to see that team -- after Sean Taylor and the tragedy there -- turn that thing around. We get Jason hurt and Todd jumps in there.

"To win those next four games, I've got to tell you, was probably as great a memory -- it's not better than -- but it was certainly right up there with some of the great victories we had. I think back to a lot of those things, and I guess we probably ought to get together and write a book on it or something, because so many things that happened in practice, so many funny things, so many great victories over that period of time. Those would be things that I'll always remember.

"I talk to Joe Jacoby or I talk to you or I talk to Gary Clark. There are things when you're going through them, you say to yourself you're gonna appreciate them, but when you're outside of football looking back, those are some of the greatest memories, and I'll take those to my grave. Nobody had more fun than we had."

Later both men talked about Gibbs's 1981 trip to Kansas to get John Riggins to report to the Redskins. Their memories were slightly different. Gibbs remembered Riggins leaning across the breakfast table and staring at him.

"You need to get me back there, I'll make you famous," Riggins said, in Gibbs's version. "And I looked across the table, and I went Oh. My. Gosh. Nobody would say that to their coach. This guy, he's a fruitcake. I said, I'm gonna get stuck coaching a fruitcake."

"What I recall is we walked out to the car and I looked at you and I said, Yo'ure gonna be a great coach with or without John Riggins," the running back said. "Of course, I didn't mean it."

"I think we both could say this, it wasn't me, it wasn't you, it was all of us together," Gibbs concluded. "We had a great group of characters, and it's funny, the one thing that I always kind of objected to was I always got labeled, this guy's a boring person. They said he's milquetoast. I actually enjoyed all the funny things that happened in practice and the characters that we had on the football team....Honestly, I loved all that. It was probably as big a thrill as anybody's ever had in sports."

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 18, 2010; 3:38 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

Nothing makes a skins fan happier than another look back in time in the rear view mirror. Is that you, 1991? You're looking pretty small in the rear-view mirror.

Posted by: trezmartin | May 18, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Joe Gibbs would have been a great coach even without John Riggins, because he would have found somone else to run through those mammoth holes, but it wouldn't have been half as much fun.

Oh yeah, first!

Posted by: dbrine1261 | May 18, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey that wasn't there when I started my post. LOL

Posted by: dbrine1261 | May 18, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

-Grimm was the epitome of empirical hogdom! That he was shunned for so long by that sham of an outfit known as HOF voters is further proof their highly questionable credibility.

First they allow that overrated, crackhead, offensive interference push-off artist Michael Irvin in on the first ballot while Art Monk was denied repeatedly, then finally Grimm, who was leader of the most famous OL in football history!

Just as bad of the Pro Bowl voting. Shameful, immoral and no basis in football performance!

Posted by: iubiquity | May 18, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Coach Gibbs isn't the only one with great memories of Carlisle. I would take my kids there and we'd spend the day there, stay for a night scrimmage if there was one (usually against the Steelers). Once I took my kids to the local Dairy Queen and saw Gary Clark standing by his Corvette. No big deal, just a great Redskins player chilling after practice. Coach Gibbs took time after practice one night, he literally got out of the car and took time to talk with my Dad - a WWII vet. Just when I thought he was anxious to go eat dinner, Coach would talk more with my father. It was wonderful that such a busy coach took time to talk. Carlisle was very special year after year, small town that came alive during the hot summer months. Coach Gibbs, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, and later Rypien, BMitch, so many other great players who took time out for pictures with my family. Now we need a championship to hook the next generation of fans on Redskins football. I'm tired of the losing, hopefully they can have 'character' guys who can play at a high level, and who are a team. Haynesworth is not that kind of player, but they have a few guys who are.

Posted by: bfjam | May 18, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I played in a golf tourney at Cumberland Golf course, during the summer of 89. The post tourney banquet was at a restaurant near Carlisle. Wish I could remember the name. Around 7pm, a group of about 20 Skins came in for a round or two. It was not hard to pick out the rookies, as they quietly nursed their beers. The Hogs sat at the bar, as if they had just broken the huddle...Lachey, Grimm, Bostic, May and Jacoby. They were loud and happy, although, not obnoxious. Right before 8 o'clock, they all got up and left, as if they had a curfew or a meeting. What a thrill for a lifelong Skins fan.

Posted by: daveatobx | May 18, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I came across an online community for individual seeking interracial love. It is --Mixed connect . c O m--- All singles there are seeking interracial dating or relationships. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | May 18, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

lol @ Gibbs getting the math wrong, saying "4 Super Bowls in 11 years" when it actually happened in 9 years.

Great piece.

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | May 19, 2010 3:07 AM | Report abuse

IT IS SUCH A SHAME WE COULDN'T HAVE HAD THAT 92 SUPERBOWL IN THE 80'S. THEN THE REDSKINS WOULD BE THE TEAM OF THE 80'S AND NOT THE 49'ERS.

STEVE SABOL SAID THE 91-92 REDSKINS WERE THE BEST TEAM EVER! HE THEN, GET THIS, DECIDED TO RANK THEM "TENTH" ALL-TIME ONLY BECAUSE THEY HAD NOTHING THE YEAR BEFORE OR AFTER TH 91-92 SEASON. TRUE STORY. HE IS NUTS.

Posted by: artsnsportz | May 19, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

The NFL HOF needs to start making room for Joe Jacoby!

Posted by: harmojo | May 19, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

"lol @ Gibbs getting the math wrong, saying "4 Super Bowls in 11 years" when it actually happened in 9 years."

I think he was referring to his whole career 81-92.

Posted by: fmccain | May 19, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I too, have a favorite Grimm story. We hired him for our company picnic to socialize with the employees, sign autographs, mix and mingle, etc. He never opened his mouth except to eat about 25 pounds of BBQ ribs. What a total dud. Zero personality.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | May 19, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Redskins memories! We lived in a townhouse in Reston back in the '80's. Our next door neighbors during their '83 Super Bowl year were Nick Giaquinto (RB) and Todd Liebenstien (DE). Pete Cronan (Cronan the Barbarian) was one of their frequent guests. They were always nice to us and the neighborhood kids, never any trouble at all, just good neighbors.

Posted by: ExPatYankee | May 19, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

1980 my sixth grade teacher Mr. Raff got me interested in the Redskinsbecause his wife was a Redskinette cheerleader,and I've been a die hard fan ever since. thank you for showing me the light Mr. raff.
St. Pete strut

Posted by: nflorida1 | May 19, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I have my own fond memory: I graduated from a small, private high school for -ahem- 'troubled' kids. The speaker at my 1983 graduation, totalling all of 5 graduates?

George Starke, fresh off his SBXVII victory. Talked about overcoming obstacles to a group that couldn't have needed it more.

Saw him again many years later at an event in support of SALLIE MAE's program for at-risk middle schoolers. No media, no accolades, just trying to help at-risk kids. Class guy.

Posted by: spauldij1 | May 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Joe Gibbs would have been a great coach even without John Riggins, because he would have found somone else to run through those mammoth holes, but it wouldn't have been half as much fun.

Oh yeah, first"

I dunno about that, the skins back then threw the football about 70% if the time in JG first year as coach and he wanted to use Riggo as fullback and Washington as HB. If thing had remainded the same, he may not have made it past 1981. they started 0-5.

Posted by: mudd94 | May 20, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Ours was starting in with our 82 Super Bowl, and it went through '91. Because four Super Bowls in 11 years is pretty awesome. Now, having said, one of the thrills of my life was that last season I was there, and to see that team -- after Sean Taylor and the tragedy there -- turn that thing around. We get Jason hurt and Todd jumps in there. "To win those next four games, I've got to tell you, was probably as great a memory -- it's not better than -- but it was certainly right up there with some of the great victories we had.
_____
Interesting Gibb's high point in coming back was when he had Collins as his QB. And I agree. Those four games and beating Dallas in the last game at home to lock up a playoff spot... my best memory since the glory years. What a shame Campbell became the QB again and the 2 HORRIBLE seasons that came along with it.

Posted by: sovine08 | May 21, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

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