Originally created 01/13/04

Grimm, Smith finalists for Bears' vacancy

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Russ Grimm described himself as a "blue collar guy, meat and potatoes" who would welcome the chance to coach the Chicago Bears.

Grimm, one of the "Hogs" who played in four Super Bowls as a guard with the Washington Redskins, is one of at least two finalists for the job. He came to Halas Hall to make the rounds and answer questions Monday.

St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith will do the same Tuesday when he meets with Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, CEO Ted Phillips and the McCaskey family that owns the team.

Grimm, in the running this year for the Hall of Fame, has spent the last three years as the offensive line coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also coached the Redskins' offensive line and their tight ends after retiring in 1992 following an 11-year career.

He said he doesn't think a head coach has to have experience as a coordinator, he's not worried about a compensation package and isn't concerned with power in personnel matters.

He just wants to coach and the Bears could give him a chance. They got permission to speak with him Friday, called him on Saturday and he was on a flight Sunday.

Should he be the next coach?

"I think so. I have a lot of confidence in my ability; that's one thing I'm not shy of. I don't have to get out and brag and sell it, but I'm confident," said the four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Grimm, 44, doesn't even have an agent.

"I don't send flyers around the league saying I want to be a head coach," Grimm said.

"I'm not a big self-promoter type. I'm not calling around the league trying to find the first job that's available. Some things are interesting and this is one of them.

"Have I been through an interview process before? No. Do I have all the answers? No. Would I say I may make a mistake? Yeah. But that mistake would be corrected and I think I know how to win football games."

The Bears also have interviewed Romeo Crennel, the Patriots' defensive coordinator, and Jim Mora, before he became head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith was the linebackers coach at Tampa Bay when Angelo was its player personnel director. He is an assistant head coach in St. Louis under Mike Martz. The Rams were eliminated from the playoffs by Carolina on Saturday.

Grimm said he expected the Bears to interview other candidates and "exhaust all possible avenues."

And he acknowledged that being contacted was a bit of a shock.

"I've always figured if you are good enough at something, people will find you," Grimm said. "All they will get from me is honest answers."

Grimm said he hadn't talked to the Redskins, who just rehired his former coach Job Gibbs last week.

The Bears' announcement of the two finalists Monday came two days after LSU coach Nick Saban said he was not interested in coming to Chicago. The Chicago Tribune also reported Monday that California coach Jeff Tedford also told the Bears on Saturday he wasn't interested.


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