Feb. 6, 2010
PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh’s sparkling legacy in the National Football League added two more crown jewels today with the news that a pair of former Pitt greats, offensive lineman Russ Grimm and defensive end Rickey Jackson, have been named to the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.
Their election brings Pitt’s total to six inductees in Canton, joining linebacker Joe Schmidt (inducted in 1973), tight end Mike Ditka (1988), running back Tony Dorsett (1994) and quarterback Dan Marino (2005).
Both members of Pitt’s famed 1977 recruiting class, Grimm and Jackson became bedrocks on the Panthers’ dominant squads over the next four years. The pair helped Pitt to a 22-2 record over the 1979 and 1980 seasons, including a pair of Top 10 finishes in the polls. As seniors in 1980, they helped the Panthers to an 11-1 mark and selection by The New York Times computer poll as the country’s No. 1 team
As Pitt’s starting center, Grimm was at the heart of an impregnable offensive front. Marino once remarked, “There were games when my uniform never got dirty. There were games when I never hit the ground. That’s incredible.”
A third-round draft choice of Washington in 1981, Grimm (Scottsdale, Pa./Southmoreland H.S.) went on to start 11 seasons at guard for the Redskins (1981-91) and helped lead the team to four Super Bowl appearances and three victories. He was voted to four consecutive Pro Bowls (1983-86) and was a first-team selection to the 1980s All-Decade Team. Grimm was an original member of Washington’s renowned “Hogs” offensive line, which also included another all-time Pitt great, Mark May.
Now a highly respected coach in the NFL, Grimm currently serves as the assistant head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach with the Arizona Cardinals. He was the assistant head coach and oversaw the offensive line for the Pittsburgh Steelers when they won Super Bowl XL over Seattle, 21-10.
Jackson (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee H.S.) collected 290 career tackles at Pitt and still ranks 17th all-time in that category. Paired with Hugh Green, Jackson helped form one of the most feared defensive end tandems in college football history. Jackson was an integral part of a Pitt defense in 1980 that ranked No. 1 in the country and surrendered just 11 points per game.
A second-round draft pick by New Orleans, Jackson spent 15 seasons in the NFL (1981-95). He compiled an incredible 128 sacks, which ranked third all-time when he retired following the ’95 campaign. Jackson recovered 28 fumbles (second most in NFL history) and forced 41 (fourth all-time). He broke up 118 passes.
In 1994, he signed as a free agent with San Francisco and earned a ring that season as he helped the 49ers to a 49-26 victory in Super Bowl XXIX over San Diego. Jackson was a four-time All-Pro selection and six-time Pro Bowler.
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