With great fanfare, Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau and former Pitt greats Rickey Jackson and Russ Grimm entered the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Unlike Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith who both reached the Hall on their first tries, LeBeau, Jackson, and Grimm had to wait several years.
LeBeau was inducted as a player, although the argument could be made that he deserved to make it as a coach. It’s clear that he’s extremely proud of his coaching career as he was of his years as a player:
“I am being inducted as a player and believe me that makes me most proud,” LeBeau said. "I did that for 14 years, but for the last 38 years I have been a football coach.
“They are here,” he added, pointing to the Steelers, who he helped win two Super Bowls in the last five seasons. "That’s just about the highest compliment ever paid to me in my life.
“Ambassador [Dan] Rooney is here. I am truly humbled by that. They let this football team come out of training camp … think about that, it’s like having another road game.
“I wouldn’t want to be here without you: offense, defense and special teams.”
Jackson’s always had his supporters, and today he joined them in thinking he belonged:
“I think I deserve to be up here,” Jackson said. “Football always has been my life. I see that in these guys up here [onstage], how they carried themselves. They set the standard.”
Meanwhile, Russ Grimm sounded as if he was just happy to be there:
“It’s a privilege to play in the NFL,” said Grimm, now the assistant head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. "It’s been a privilege to coach in the NFL. It’s an honor to be selected here in Canton.
“Growing up, I dreamed of playing college football. In college, I dreamed of playing pro football. When I was in the NFL I dreamed of winning Super Bowls.
“But I never dreamed I would be standing here today.”
All three are now officially members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame – and deservedly so.