Steelers’ Grimm follows Whisenhunt to Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) — Russ Grimm was hired as the Arizona Cardinals’ assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tuesday, two weeks after he interviewed for the head coaching position.
Grimm’s hiring comes two days after erroneous reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers had chosen him to replace retired coach Bill Cowher. Grimm wanted the Steelers job, but said he was happy to reunite with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, a former Steelers staffmate.
“It’s about 23 degrees and snowing, so I’m looking forward to the weather,” Grimm told reporters on a conference call from Pittsburgh.
Grimm interviewed for the Cardinals’ and Steelers’ top jobs. After the Cardinals hired Whisenhunt, Grimm appeared to emerge as the leading candidate to succeed Cowher.
On Sunday, a published report in the Pittsburgh area said the club would promote Grimm. But the Steelers instead hired Minnesota defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.
Grimm seemed disappointed, but wasn’t bitter over the way events played out.
“Obviously, it was tough,” Grimm said. “I thought I had a shot at it. Whatever the details are and things like that, I respect the decision that was made.
“It’s time to move on,” he added. “I’m thrilled to be in Arizona.”
The 47-year-old Grimm will be charged with improving the Cardinals’ offensive line, which drew heavy criticism during the team’s 5-11 season.
“Obviously, I know Russ very well from our time together with the Steelers and adding a coach of his caliber to the staff is tremendous,” Whisenhunt said in a statement.
Grimm worked as an assistant with the Steelers the last six seasons. He spent the previous 19 years with the Washington Redskins — as an all-pro guard for 11 seasons (1981-91) and then as an assistant coach for eight (1992-2000).
Grimm is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said he’s not anxious about the Feb. 3 vote in Miami.
“I tend to concentrate on the things I have control over,” Grimm said. “Something like that is exciting, but it’s something that’s out of my hands.”
Grimm is the fifth assistant to join Whisenhunt’s staff. He joins defensive backs coach Teryl Austin, linebackers coach Billy Davis, strength and conditioning coach John Lott, and special teams coach Kevin Spencer.
Grimm said it wouldn’t be strange to work for Whisenhunt after competing with him for top jobs in Arizona and Pittsburgh.
“I don’t mind riding shotgun,” Grimm said.