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Half Smokes Heroes: Jackie Sherill

Each weekend Half Smokes Heroes will pay some respect to a group or individual flying under the radar who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the week.

Jackie Sherill is probably best known for his solid coaching career at Texas A&M and Mississippi State, where he guided his teams to multiple bowl appearances during his tenure. Before coaching those southern powerhouses, he spent four years coaching at Pittsburgh, where he helped tutor a young quarterback named Dan Marino during his college years.

So what's his tie to D.C.? At the same time he was tutoring Dan Marino, he was also encouraging another one of his players to make a difficult, but necessary position switch. That player's name? Russ Grimm.

"I wanted to play linebacker all the way," Grimm said. "You were in the middle of everything. It's not that you were playing one defensive end, and the ball-carrier was running the other way. You had the chance to make all the plays."

After Grimm's sophomore year at Pitt, head coach Jackie Sherrill asked how he felt about playing center.

Grimm responded this fashion. "I told him I'd never been in a three-point stance in my life, and that I was going to stay at linebacker. He informed me he wasn't asking me, he was telling me they were moving me. So I considered transferring."

Thankfully, Grimm had a change of heart and decided to learn how to play center under Sherill. Safe to say, I think Sherill knew what he was talking about when he encouraged Grimm to make the switch. Without Sherill, Grimm would have never made the NFL, or he would have wound up making his mark as a linebacker, rather than as a member of those devastating Redskin offensive lines of the 1980's.

For making the bold to convert Russ Grimm from linebacker to offensive lineman, we give Jackie Sherill this week's Half Smokes Hero Award.

(HT: SBN Pittsburgh)