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Russ Grimm and the origins of "The Hogs"

Every time I hear a 1980s-vintage Redskin describe the origins of "The Hogs," the story goes a little bit differently. The original Washington Post explanation of the nickname, written in 1982, said Bugel coined the name during the 1981 season, quoting him like so:

"They are short guys with big bellies," Bugel said. "I started to say to the whole line at practice, 'Okay you hogs, let's go down in the bullpen and hit those sleds.' Some guys might have resented it, but these guys loved it."

With Russ Grimm set to enter the Hall, his teammates have been all over the media, and each probably has a different version. Hey, it was almost 30 years ago, after all. At least seven of the Hogs are now in Canton -- plus Bugel -- to celebrate the arrival of one of their own into the Hall of Fame. So it seemed worth including George Starke's version, as told to the Mike Wise Show.

"We were in training camp [in 1982], first week of camp, and training in those days was not like today. It's two-a-days, real two-a-days, not practice in morning and you walk around in the afternoon. It was real two-a-days, and you're off in Carlisle, not like today where you practice once and then you're off to your wife or girlfriend.

"We're off in the woods, and the way the day starts is you have breakfast at 6 in the morning, then you're on the field about 8:30 and it's kind of cold and dewy. Offensive linemen and defensive linemen traditionally started out with some kind of drill against each other, some kind of blocking drill, and Russ was gonna go first. And he got down on all fours, and he was kind of portly at the time - like he is now, actually - and his stomach was peeking out from beneath his shirt. And he's on all fours, he's down on the ground, it's early in the morning, we're all kind of rough around the edges, and Buges looked down and said Jeez Russ, you look like a big old hog down there on the ground.

"And then just to mess with Buges, that afternoon we took our t-shirts and we wrote Hogs on them. There was no intent to be anything, it was just giving Buges a hard time. He looks at us and says 'What are you guys doing, what's on your shirt?' We said, 'Well, we wrote Gogs, we're in solidarity with Russ, you hurt his feelings this morning.'

"And the press, of course, is just as bored as everybody else in training camp, they can't think of what to write about. So they see us walking around with these Hogs shirts and they ask why are you doing that. And the truth is, it just started out as a goof with Buges, but then it sort of took on a life of its own."

Wise also asked Starke about the NFC Championship game when the Redskins ran 50 Gut over and over again.

"We went to the Super Bowl that year, but we only had two running plays anyway," Starke said. "We didn't run traps, we didn't run sweeps, we didn't run screens. We only had two plays. Counter Trey was the next year, we didn't have the Counter Trey. It was either off the right tackle, which was me, or off the left tackle, which was Jake and Russ. I mean, that was it. That was the whole offense. We didn't even have a playbook. We didn't need a playbook. We only had two plays."

Al Saunders would be impressed. Anyhow, I think maybe you should just enjoy these Hogs stories this weekend without necessarily fact-checking them.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 7, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: The Hogettes in Canton


That was very true. I remember those plays and enjoyed the domination immensely. Riggins was a sight to see.

Posted by: RedCherokee | August 7, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I could read stories about these guys all day. Keep 'em coming!

Posted by: stevebeagrie | August 7, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think the HOF voters must be mostly Cowhide fans. Why else would it take 14 F`ING YEARS to vote in ONE PLAYER from the most famous and celebrated OL in football history!?

If they played in little-d they'd all probably be inducted! It sucks!!A BIG Conrgats to Russ.. bout time!!

Posted by: iubiquity | August 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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