By STEPHEN F. HOLDER St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer
TAMPA — Bucs safety Cody Grimm arrived inconspicuously this offseason via the seventh round of the draft, and with his quiet demeanor, you barely know he’s in the same room with you.
And you would never know that his dad is practically larger than life.
Grimm’s father, Russ, was part of the Redskins’ famed 1980s offensive line affectionately referred to as “the Hogs” and was known as “Boss Hog” by some of his linemates. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio, and Cody will be there to take it in.
Cody, 23, talks about his relationship with his father and some of the memorable football moments they’ve shared.
I know how hard it is to get time off from training camp. Are you going to make it for the induction?
I’m actually heading up there Saturday morning. I didn’t even ask. It was something that I think coach Raheem (Morris) talked to my dad about, and they figured something out. I had nothing to do with it.
How much anticipation is there with your family?
A lot. I haven’t seen my grandparents, for instance, in, like, years. Being at (Virginia) Tech and always having football, I haven’t been able to see a lot of people. It’s probably been three or four years since my dad’s side of the family has gotten together and had sort of a reunion. We’re really excited.
To say you have a Hall of Famer for a dad is a pretty big statement. Do you struggle with trying to live up to him?
No, not really. I don’t even worry about it. My dad’s never put pressure on me to play a sport – ever. When I was little, he loved when we were playing baseball. He didn’t care. It was just about whatever made us happy. That’s all he ever wanted. As long as we did well in school, he felt like we could play whatever sport we wanted.
What’s the biggest childhood sports memory you have with your dad?
My favorite football memory is when I was in high school (in Vienna, Va.). In my senior year – my dad was coaching in Pittsburgh (with the Steelers) at the time – he actually made it to the homecoming game. I had two touchdowns, and I won homecoming king. Obviously, I was excited to score those two touchdowns in front of him. But then I won homecoming king, and they did it at halftime, and I was (in the locker room). So, my mom and dad went out on the field to accept it for me, and they were trying to put the crown on my dad’s head, and he wasn’t having it. They didn’t get it on, that’s for sure.
Was there a piece of advice from him that has really stuck with you, about football or otherwise?
One of the memories I have is from back in (football) little league when I got this clipping penalty. After the game, I went to my dad, and he said, “Was it close?” I actually thought it was. He said, “Hey, when in doubt, lay him out!” That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Have you ever been to the Hall of Fame?
Never. And I’m excited to be able to take it all in. And I’m just excited for my dad. I know he’s really excited. He keeps calling me trying to make sure I have stuff to wear.
Your dad now coaches with the Cardinals, a team the Bucs play this year (Oct. 31 at Arizona). Will it be awkward?
No, I think it’ll be fun. In fact, he was already talking trash when we were at the beach house over the summer. It’s definitely going to be fun.
Did you give him some trash talk back?
Oh, yeah! He’s obviously just joking. But I kind of got the last word. He usually just kind of gives up and says, “All right. We’ll see.”
Your dad made his living as a lineman. You’ve always been a skill position player. You ever think about the contrast?
Up until high school, I was playing running back and middle linebacker. Then, once I got to high school, I was only about 120 (pounds) my freshman year. So I started playing safety. Then they realized I could play a little receiver, and they started running a little option quarterback with me my senior year. After my junior year, I pretty much stayed in the whole game.
So you got the football genes but not the size?
Exactly. I kind of got gypped a little bit. Actually, I’d probably rather be my size anyway. When you get that big, the world’s too small for you.
Do a lot of your teammates know about your dad and who he is?
A lot of guys are starting to figure it out when they see commercials and ask, “Is that your dad?” Most guys think it’s pretty sweet, so I’m down with it.
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