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Bucs safety Cody Grimm faces dad and Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm on Sunday

TAMPA — Cody Grimm intercepted a pass from Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and returned it for a touchdown Oct. 10, the highlight of the second start for the Bucs safety.

Three time zones away, Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm and head coach Ken Whisenhunt sat in front of a TV before their game with the Saints and watched the 23-year-old rookie make that play with a rooting interest.

Everybody knew the younger Grimm had the name, but what about his game?

The Cardinals find out first-hand Sunday when they play the Bucs in a family affair matchup that pits Cody against his Hall of Fame father.

"It's going to be a little bit different, but he knows the rules," Russ said Thursday. "Once you put on a different-color jersey, the game is the game, so we will see what happens."

Cody, a seventh-round draft pick from Virginia Tech, worked his way up the depth chart before landing a starting job in Week 3 against the Steelers after Tanard Jackson was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Russ and Cody are close and talk on the phone several times a week. When Russ was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, Cody was excused from training camp to attend the ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

"I talked to him the other day," Cody said. "He called and asked who we were playing this week."

When the Bucs arrive in Phoenix today, there will be a father-son dinner. "He's buying," Cody said.

"I'm sure we'll take shots at each other here and there. We're not going to be talking about our game plans. It's probably going to be pretty normal once I'm on the field. Postgame, it's being able to have bragging rights for the summer until we play them again."

What makes the reunion more interesting is that as the Cardinals' running-game coordinator, Russ has been watching tape of his son with a more critical eye, paying close attention to when the Bucs defense puts Cody down in the box.

"There are certain (ways) we can take advantage of him, and there are other things where you want to stay away from him," said Russ, 51, who played guard for 11 seasons (1981-91) in the NFL. "He is a good little player. I am proud of him. I am going to enjoy watching the game. … I hope he plays well but not well enough to beat us."

Growing up the son of the boss Hog in the Redskins' famed offensive line was more of a blessing than burden, Cody said.

"It was never a big deal to me. … I think it's pretty cool, and I enjoyed it," he said.

"I remember the first big article ever written about me was, like, 'A chip off the old Hog.' "

Players and coaches were surprised that Cody, 5 feet 10 and 210 pounds, isn't as big as his father, 6 feet 3 and 273 pounds.

"They expected me to be a little bit bigger," Cody said. "They'd say, 'That's Cody Grimm, Russ' son. … Wasn't your dad an O-lineman?' Yeah, I don't know what happened."

Not long after Cody arrived in Tampa Bay, defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake realized he was a student of the game. The nights before offseason practices, Cody would call Lake to find out what defensive plays were going to be installed the next day so he could get a jump on the morning meeting.

"He has always been an overachiever," Russ said. "He makes the most of the chances that he's had, and the opportunity arose (with the Bucs), and he stepped in. … And he's doing all right."

Cody is fifth on the Bucs with 29 tackles and has two interceptions.

"There's a number of us on staff that have been with Russ a number of years," Whisenhunt said. "We've seen Cody grow up, and we're obviously excited that Cody is in the league. … But I think you have to detach yourself from it, knowing he's a player."

And let the chip off the old blocker fall where he may.

Bucs safety Cody Grimm faces dad and Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm on Sunday 10/28/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 8:28am]
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