Tomorrow, Redskins offensive line great Russ Grimm will be enshrined in the Hall Of Fame. Today, he ran the gauntlet of day-before-enshrinment events: a luncheon with existing Hall of Famers. A dinner, where he’ll be presented with his Hall of Fame jacket — I’m writing this in the media workroom of the Canton Civic Center during the ramp-up to that event. And, sandwiched between, a brief open media session with all of the visiting press.
Grimm talked a lot about his Pittsburgh roots — fellow enshrinees Rickey Jackson and Dick LeBeau also have Pittsburgh ties — and a lot about the impressive credentials of the rest of his Hall class. But most interesting to me was Grimm’s discussion of his preparation for tomorrow’s ceremony.
The key, he says, is staying in the moment. “We just got the lecture from the other members of the Hall of Fame that, don’t forget, you’re not in yet,” he said. “Not in after you get the jacket. You’re not in until you get the bust, and that’s not until after your speech, so I gotta make it through that speech first.”
And the speech, he said, is something that he’s feeling good about. “It came together,” he explained. “I mean, it’s one of the things where if I’m driving or something, I’ll jot down people’s names. If I’m just sitting around I’ll jot down a few thoughts. Like I say, you don’t get here by yourself, you just wanna make sure you thank the people that you’re supposed to thank. You don’t wanna forget anybody. Really, I think that’s what this weekend’s all about.”
Despite the plethora of Redskins already in Canton — including several of Grimm’s teammates and his head coach — he said that he hadn’t gotten any advice from any of them in handling what seems certain to be an emotional moment tomorrow.
“I wanted to try to keep away from thinking about it as much as I could,” Grimm said, “and the only tip I got was [from] the older guys today, which was ‘Hey, make sure you’ve written it down, because once you get up there it’s gonna hit and an it’s gonna hit you heard, and you may get emotional’ and I’m like, ‘So be it.'”
That ‘So be it,’ acknowledging the likelihood of tears on the podium, was a theme Grimm returned to several times.
“I don’t care,” he said, voice cracking. “If I’m emotional, so be it. If I get through it without being emotional … I doubt it. I doubt that’s gonna happen. But I’m gonna try to. I’m not gonna be looking at my family. I’m gonna thank ’em, but I’m gonna try not to look. ‘Cause you can tell already, the voice is starting to crack.”
Tags: hall of fame 2010, russ grimm
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