The genius of Bobby Beathard and Joe Gibbs was perhaps never as apparent as in the “creation” of Darryl Grant.
Grant was a good offensive lineman at Rice, and the Redskins took him in the ninth round of the 1981 NFL Draft. Yet, Washington was already saturated with young OL talent, with Joe Jacoby, Mark May, Russ Grimm, and Jeff Bostic also on the roster, along with several veterans.
The organization figured that Grant could be a project: Flip him to the other side of the ball and convert him into a defensive tackle.
By his second season of 1982, Grant had earned his way into the starting lineup alongside veteran standout Dave Butz in the Redskins’ 4-3 alignment. Grant’s transition to defensive tackle was a success. He helped Washington to an NFL-best 8-1 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season.
But the moment for Grant came that postseason. The one everybody remembers. The one that still brings a smile to the face of any Redskins fan of a certain age.
Washington clung to a one-score lead in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game against the dreaded Dallas Cowboys (the only team that had beaten the Redskins that year. Then, this happened:
Darryl Grant has the highest “Approximate Value” of any Redskin to wear #77. But, even if he didn’t, this play might have been enough for him to take the crown.
The game-clinching touchdown against Dallas meant so much to that team and to that fanbase. You catch a glimpse of it in the clip above, with the RFK stands shaking, and Madden and Summerall barely able to hear themselves over the din of Redskins fans who had been waiting 40 years for a world title.
Grant played ten seasons for the Redskins, essentially his entire career, save for a couple of games with the Buccaneers in ‘91 before he retired. During that decade, he recorded 27 sacks, recovered 11 fumbles, played in three Super Bowls, and won the aforementioned pair of rings. As a footnote, in a holdover from his offensive line days, Grant was also the snapper on the field-goal team during his tenure in DC.
Number 77 is actually more competitive than a lot of other jerseys in this list. Grant’s opposition includes Bill Brundige, a stalwart on the George Allen Redskins’ defenses in the 70s, Tre Johnson, a 1999 Pro Bowler who started 69 games at guard for Washington, and Randy Thomas, an offensive line mainstay during Joe Gibbs’ second stint in DC.
In my view, none of them quite match Darryl Grant. Even a century from now, Grant will be a major part of some of the biggest moments in Redskins’ history, and his touchdown against Dallas will always be on the all-time Redskins’ highlight reel.
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