He was drafted in the third round by the Redskins in the 1981 NFL Draft. Upon hearing that he had been drafted by the Redskins, Grimm thought to himself, I'm going to Seattle, not realizing that the Redskins played in the nation's capital. Along with Jeff Bostic, Mark May, George Starke and Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm was a founding member of the Redskins' renowned "Hogs" offensive line of the 1980s and early 1990s (deemed one of the best front fives of NFL history), which was a mainstay of the Redskins' glory years during the first Joe Gibbs era.
During his 11 seasons as the Redskins' starting guard, Russ Grimm helped lead his team to 4 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Super Bowl victories (Super Bowl XVII in 1983, Super Bowl XXII in 1988, and Super Bowl XXVI in 1992). Along the way, Grimm was selected to 4 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances (1983 through 1986). He was named an All-Pro in each of those years as well.
According to Mark May, a teammate both at Pittsburgh and on the Redskins, no one lived up to the "Hog" persona more than Grimm: "He was a blue collar stiff and proud of it." In his 2005 memoir, May recalled a Christmas party at his house in 1982: "I iced down a keg of beer and stationed it on the landing between the first floor and basement. Russ turned the landing into his headquarters for the evening. He grabbed a chair and a Hog shot glass (a 60-ounce pitcher) and parked his butt on the landing next to the keg. Except for an occasional trip to the bathroom, we didn't see Russ on the first level all night..."
Grimm was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and a finalist in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010. The bust of Grimm, sculpted by Scott Myers, was unveiled at the Enshrinement Ceremony on August 8, 2010.
After hanging up his player's cleats, Grimm returned to the Redskins as a tight end coach (from 1992 through 1996, and offensive line coach from 1997 through 2000, during which he was instrumental in the development of tackles Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen. After his coaching stint with the Redskins, Grimm joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive line coach in September 2000. In 2004 he was promoted to Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line.
In 2005, Grimm added another Super Bowl ring (totalling 4) to his résumé as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching staff (Offensive Line Coach).Under Grimm guidance in 2005, the Super Bowl champion Steelers averaged nearly 140 yards rushing per game during the regular season to rank fifth in the NFL while also grinding out 181 rushing yards in their Super Bowl XL victory over the Seattle Seahawks. In 2006 Steelers offensive line helped pave the way for running back Willie Parker to gain 1,494 yards and 13 touchdowns on 337 carries with 4.4 yard avg. and earn his first Pro Bowl selection. Pittsburgh offense finished the 2006 season with the 10th best rushing attack in the NFL, helping to give the Steelers the 7th ranked total offense in the league. Parker finished the season with the second and third top rushing performances of the year in the NFL with 223 rushing yards 32 att., TD against Cleveland Browns and 213 yards with 22 att, 2 TD vs. New Orleans Saints.
On January 5, 2007, Bill Cowher resigned as head coach of the Steelers. In the press conference that followed, Steeler's President Art Rooney II announced Russ Grimm as one of the candidates for the job. He was named as a finalist for the job along with Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Tomlin. On January 22, 2007, the Steelers hired Tomlin as their head coach. The day after Tomlin's hiring, Grimm was hired to serve under Whisenhunt as the Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach/offensive line coach. In his first season in Arizona, his offensive line allowed only 24 sacks, 6th best in the NFL and the fewest given up by the Cardinals since 1978 with 22. Grimm’s offensive line also paved the way for running back Edgerrin James to rush for 1,222 yards, the fifth best total in team history. The Cardinals offense finished with the 5th best passing attack in the NFL and threw for a team record 32 touchdowns.
After the Arizona Cardinals hired Whisenhunt as their new head coach, on January 14, 2007, the finalists for the Steelers position were reduced to Grimm and Mike Tomlin. On January 22, 2007, Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported from an undisclosed source within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization that, then-assistant coach, Grimm would replace Bill Cowher as the team's coach. A day earlier, ESPN and Sports Illustrated stated on their web sites that Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin had been chosen to replace Cowher. However an NFL source confirmed on January 21, 2007 that Tomlin had not heard from the Steelers and no contract negotiations had taken place. Grimm was one of three finalists to replace Cowher, along with Tomlin and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
Twenty four hours later Tomlin was announced as the Steelers new coach. Steelers' President Art Rooney II told CBS Sports on January 23, 2007 that no formal offer was ever made to Grimm, explaining that team reps did talk about an offer and contract numbers with both Grimm and Tomlin on January 20. Rooney explained, "We did tell Russ nothing would be final until Sunday". I feel bad if he got the wrong impression." As a result Prisuta's story was discredited and he later resigned in 2009 from the Tribune-Review to accept a position with Pittsburgh's WDVE Radio.
The miscommunication displayed during the hiring of Mike Tomlin over Grimm, is also the focus of a conspiracy theory. According to the theory, Grimm was originally given the job as the Steelers head coach, however the job was soon stripped from him a few hours later and given to Tomlin. The theory was endorsed by Mark Madden, a local sports columnist who often contributes to the NFL Network show, NFL Top 10, and Clark Judge, of CBS Sports, also reported that three sources "close to the team" told him that the offer was made to Grimm and later rescinded.
The theory reads that sports writer Mike Prisuta's story may have turned out wrong, but when he wrote it, it was accurate. Madden stated through his own undisclosed source on August 4, 2009, that Grimm and Tomlin were the two finalists to replace Cowher. Grimm was the front-runner for the job, but only by a slim margin. Art Rooney II, then told Grimm that he would later be announced as the team's new coach. Grimm passed on that information to Prisuta. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review then published the story on January 22. However, according to Madden, the NFL responded to the decision by calling Dan Rooney, stating, that the team should award the job to a minority candidate since Dan Rooney was in fact the author of the "Rooney Rule". Tomlin who was a qualified, serious candidate was on par with Grimm's qualifications. The Steelers changed their mind and Tomlin was hired.
However none of these "undisclosed sources" mentioned by Prisuta, Madden or Judge have ever come forward to the media. Therefore the issue remains a topic for sports conspiracy theorists.
Grimm was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. His younger brother, Donn, was a starting linebacker on Notre Dame 1988 national championship team and signed with the Cardinals as a rookie free agent in 1991. He has four children, Chad, Cody, and fraternal twins Devin and Dylan. All of his children attended Oakton High School in Fairfax County, Virginia. Chad played football at Virginia Tech and was an offensive quality control coach for the Cardinals, and Dylan plays lacrosse at Loyola University Maryland. His second eldest son, Cody, also played at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft.