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Russ Grimm and the Hogs have a party

Maybe 30 minutes after the Hall of Fame induction ceremony ended on Saturday night, I wandered away from Canton's Fawcett Stadium, wriggled past the line for Jerry Rice's flashy reception, and stumbled directly into your childhood dreams.

At the center of the Russ Grimm after-party was a bar adorned with a large sign reading "5 O'clock Club." In one corner was a huge rendition of the iconic Hogs in Tuxedos poster, which all the offensive linemen eventually autographed. There were huge buckets everywhere filled with ice-cold cans of Bud Light, and towering platters of Redskins-themed chocolate cupcakes. Just about everyone in attendance was wearing some sort of burgundy and gold homage to the '80s.

And as you wandered around the tent, you would run into Joe Theismann and Neal Olkewicz, Joe Jacoby and Jeff Bostic, George Starke and Doc Walker, Donnie Warren and Jim Lachey, Bruce Allen and Bubba Tyer, Art Monk and Darrell Green, Dan Marino and Marcus Allen, Curtis Jordan and Ken Houston, Joe Gibbs and Joe Bugel.

"For Redskins fans like me, it's a dream come true, the start of the Hogs getting in," said Daniel Snyder, who hosted the party in Grimm's honor.

I don't want to pretend this event transported me back to my youth; you all know very well that I didn't grow up in D.C., with posters of Hogs on my bedroom walls. But when you see the Washington Post's archives come to life in front of you, see the men themselves step out of the highlight reels and stand in front of you with their arms around each other, maybe you start shivering a little bit, and not because of the temperature of those Bud Lights.

So there's Jacoby, towering over the giggling crowd as Jordan resumes his role as team comedian. There's Grimm, walking around in a beat-up baseball hat, camaraderie leaking out his pores. There's Walker, cigar jutting out of his mouth, and Theismann, hair as glorious as ever.

And oh yeah, there are the Hogs in a tight circle, each raising up a can of adult beverage over the head of the grinning Bugel, and then tipping them back in a group celebration.

"The friendships don't say goodbye, they kind of go on hold, you know?" Lachey said. "Personalities don't change, man, over the years. We had a lot of fun back then and we have a lot of fun now."

"Both of us benefited from being a part of the Redskins organization," Gibbs said. "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that."

What did his teammates think of Grimm's acceptance speech earlier in the evening?

"I thought it was quintessential Russ," Starke said. "I think for all these guys it's emotional. We're crying in the audience, he's crying on stage. How could you not? It's a very emotional thing."

"I thought his speech was awesome," Bostic said with a straight face. "I mean, he far exceeded what I expected. I thought he'd be up there about three minutes -- hey it's good to be here, thanks for everything -- and then leave.

And what of Grimm's promise to embroider the names of all the Hogs on the inside of his Hall of Fame jacket?

"That's flattering, and fortunately, it looks to be a very big coat, so he should be able to get all the names on it," Bostic said.

"I just hope he gets them spelled correctly," Jacoby cracked. "No, that was a classy move. Playing on the offensive line, you know that feeling, what it all means. Offensive linemen know that. It's a special bond. Russ and I had that. Russ and I, it's almost like brothers."

And indeed, the whole thing had a family reunion vibe, complete with corny group hats and repeated hearty hugs. Grimm thanked Snyder during his acceptance speech, and he did so again at the party, grabbing the owner by the hand and saying "thanks for everything." At some point, the guy with the microphone announced that Grimm would not be signing any more autographs for the night, so that he could kick back and enjoy the celebration. Fans posed for photos by the bust, which looked out over the party from next to the old-school Hogs poster. But even though that statue was just of one guy's head, players said the day represented something more.

"I think everybody feels a little piece of them being in there now," Bostic said.

"This is something you'll never forget the rest of your life," Bugel said, the crevices in his face locked into that giddy grin. "Me personally, being able to introduce Russ Grimm, that's the highlight of my football career. That's the icing on the cake right there. And to have a kind of party like this, to see everybody, how happy they are, this reminds me of the old times."

(More from the weekend: The Hogs arrive in Canton, so too do the Hogettes, Michael Irvin remembers the Hogs, Grimm talks about old-time pranks and praises the old-school Skins fans.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 9, 2010; 8:52 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Steve Francis still says he's D.C.'s best since Bias


Nice pics Dan. I assume these parties are off limits to casual fans and "invitation only?"

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | August 9, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Any idea why Mark May was not there?

Posted by: Riddler1 | August 9, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Goosebumps...Warm and Fuzzies...Nice way to start a Monday Morning reading this. Nicely done!

Posted by: chamidi | August 9, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, what is up with Mark May? Has he cut ties with the organization for some reason?

Posted by: jmurray019 | August 9, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

No Hall of Fame running back John Riggins at Grimm's HoF weekend? Has his heart gone dark?

Posted by: FeelWood | August 9, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I was glad to hear Grimmy mention Bobby Beathard in his speech. He was as responsible as anyone for the success of those teams. His drafting, free agent pick ups, and trades kept the Hogs going. Can anyone forget the fleecing of the Raiders for Jim Lachey!

Posted by: JAMNEW | August 9, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Those pics and this story brings back fond memories. Too bad that Redskins era is dead and buried and will never return.

Now I cheer voraciously against that team and like all my other childish things, I have grown up put the current team away.

Posted by: playahatah | August 9, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Sad to hear that Riggo and May were not there. They were part of the family.

Posted by: Diamondback1 | August 9, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Since it's been reported that Dan Snyder hosted the party, I'm assuming Riggo wasn't invited.

Posted by: smshadowman | August 9, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Was Riggo not invited for the entire HoF weekend? I've seen no report of him being present at any of the events, not just this party.

Posted by: FeelWood | August 9, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

yeah, Jim Lachey's looking pretty hot. Woulda done my heart good had they rolled out a big screen from TheaterVision.

Posted by: katedog | August 9, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Whenever Snyder interacts with the 80s Skins, I wish he would at least acknowledge that none of it was possible without Jack Kent Cooke. Cooke is responsible for hiring the front office that built these great teams. Snyder has no connection to the players on these teams yet doesn't hesitate to kiss their behinds any chance he gets to do so. He claims to be a fan? Well, a true fan would not wipe JKC's name off of the stadium the minute he is rewarded ownership of his beloved franchise.

Posted by: hokiepokster92 | August 9, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Nice pics Dan. I assume these parties are off limits to casual fans and "invitation only?"

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | August 9, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes it was invitation only but by Russ not Snyder. I'm not a casual fan I'm a die-hard fan of the game and I was fortunate enough to be there.
1) Each enshrinee hosted a party immediately after the ceremony on the stadium grounds.
2) Since it was Russ Grimm's party he invited his friends and family.
3) Surely you are not suggesting it be open to the public.... why should it be?

Posted by: LadyVol40 | August 11, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

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