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Russ Grimm's Hard Transition To Center Almost Led To Leaving Pitt

When most think of Russ Grimm, it’s as an offensive lineman or a coach. But many forget that there was a time when he played on the other side of the ball.

His switch to the offensive line was anything but easy:

He played quarterback and linebacker in high school, and was a linebacker in his first two years of college ball at Pitt.

“I wanted to play linebacker all the way,” Grimm said. “You were in the middle of everything. It’s not that you were playing one defensive end, and the ball-carrier was running the other way. You had the chance to make all the plays.”

After Grimm’s sophomore year at Pitt, head coach Jackie Sherrill asked how he felt about playing center.

Grimm responded this fashion. “I told him I’d never been in a three-point stance in my life, and that I was going to stay at linebacker. He informed me he wasn’t asking me, he was telling me they were moving me. So I considered transferring.”

Grimm talked to West Virginia assistant coach Joe Pendry about playing linebacker, but Pendry was soon hired to coach at Pittsburgh, so Grimm stayed.

His transition to center was rough.

“It was a rude awakening,” Grimm said. “In spring ball, I’m still learning how to snap the ball and playing against Dave Logan, who went on to play nose tackle in the NFL. It took me a while to get adjusted, but I was stuck. All the other options were eliminated, so I had no other choice but to try to play the position.”

Despite his ho-hum attitude, Grimm won the starting center job after bulking up from 240 to 255 pounds. He started for the next two seasons on Pitt teams that were 22-2, earning honorable mention All-American honors and playing in some college all-star games.

With Jeff Bostic, the Redskins were already set at center. So Grimm moved to left guard and the rest is history.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.