Tim Grunhard
#61 Center
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 307
Tim's autographed football card

I swear the more I learn about this man, the more respect I have for him.
Let me explain.

Born Timothy Gerald Grunhard, he grew up on the south side of Chicago, near Midway Airport (so he's a devoted Cubs & Blackhawks fan, even today). He once caught a foul ball off the bat of Andre Dawson at Wrigley Field. His dad was a Chicago policeman. Raised Irish-Catholic (on his mother's side), he attended St. Lawrence High School in Burbank, Illinois. While there, he earned two letters in track and baseball as well as played football, but he wasn't the best guy on the team. He worked the hardest though and eventually made first team All-Chicago Catholic League Offensive guard. "I used to pretend that I was Dick Butkus."

He then went on the play for Notre Dame where he eventually graduated with a political science degree. He wasn't their number one recruit in fact they really doubted he had the skills and ability to play for them so he had to fight and work harder than most of the others. So far this sounds like the movie "Rudy", almost. You see 'Rudy' didn't really have the size to play football, but he had what matters more, determination and stamina.

Tim, or "Grunny" as he is referred to, has the same fire inside as 'Rudy' did, but he has the body size to match. These two qualities alone would make him a good player, but they were just the beginning.

While at Notre Dame, his team won the National Championship. His skill began to develop and soon college football writers noticed him and began to single him out as one of the best linemen in the NCAA. It was only a matter of time before the NFL came calling. In March of his senior year, he made the trek over to Indiana University for the NFL's annual meat-market called "The Combine". Tim showed the scouts what he had, what he had learned and mastered. When the draft came around, he was a 2nd round pick for the Chiefs, 40th overall.

Now the Chiefs already had a center, Mike Webster, a 17 year veteran who has 4 Superbowl rings and 9 Pro-Bowl appearences (from his days with the Pittsburg Steelers) and probably one of the best centers to ever play the game and a legend in his own right. But Mike was ready to retire soon, so Tim was brought in to attempt to fill the emmense shoes Mike would leave.

Tim had never played center before, so Mike took it upon himself to train Tim the best he could. Tim listened, studied, and practiced the skills that Mike was imparting. Mike even taught him a few of the 'secret tricks' that centers can perform. In the end, Tim not only has made his teacher very proud but also had also earned the respect of the Chiefs and the respect of Kansas City as a whole.

This man, who co-captains the offensive line with Marcus Allen and one of the highest paid centers in the NFL, has never ever forgotten his roots. "I am what I am. I'm a blue-collar guy who likes blue-collar people. And people in Kansas City seen to appreciate that."

Probably the most noticeable sign of Tim's acceptance by the town is his weekly radio show on KCFX 101.1 FM. He co-hosts the 1 hour show with KCFX's Bob Gretz and Frank Boal from Channel 4.

Tim's fans are so dedicated to him that they begin to line up to watch the broadcast as early as 11:30am for the 7:00PM broadcast. Now that's dedication.

Tim's personal life has been a tough balancing act between football and his wonderful wife Sarah, but he has added a few new twists to his life. The first being that Tim and Sarah are enjoying their first child, a son. Recently, they have had an increase in their faily size with the addition of twins! The second being that in October of '96 Tim opened up "O'Dowd's Little Dublin". It's an irish pub/restaurant located in an area called "Country Club Plaza" near the college. The concept for the pub comes from a Dublin firm that has designed pubs in Europe for Guinness beer. But the menu is it's own. The restaurant is staffed partly by graduates of Liberty College in Dublin to really add in an authentic flair. Kansas City must really approve of this since on Friday & Saturday nights the wait for a table can run you well over a hour! And the don't take reservations. The Kansas City Star gave it 3 out of 4 stars and described it as "hearty" as in "put the word hearty before every dish". Although Tim loves to spend time at the pub, his wife tends to object if he spends too much time there.

Tim also devotes a good deal of his time to the children of the area. He holds an annual softball tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society. He also conducts a youth football camp for 3rd-8th graders over at the St. Therese School. In a day where football egos seem to be approaching 'deity' status in their own minds, it's very reassuring to find a person such as Tim who is so well balanced and well loved. It's clear to me that Tim never forgot where he came from and remembers what it's like to be a fan. Now you have to respect a man like that, besides he kicks serious ass in foosball. :)

Sadly, Tim can't play football forever (I'm sure he would if he could). Tim is playing it smart though, he is already beginning to prepare for his life after football. As an intern in the public-relations department at Daytona International Speedway, a part of the NFL Players Program, Tim is following his 3rd love (1st being his family, and 2nd, being football of course), NASCAR! Tim is hooked big time! He has been to 5 Daytona 500s and his most recent trip ('98) he spent a good deal of his time stuffing envelopes, answering phones and interviewingssome of the drivers. "My wife thinks I'm crazy."

The International Speedway Corporation, owned by NASCAR's Bill France Jr., is curently working to put a speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Tim has taken an active interest in this and has been helping to push things along. "I've done a lot of calling of congressmen and senators for the France family, explaining just what I've experienced down here with the community and some of the outreach programs they've done for the track here." ISC hopes to break ground on the track this summer ('98).

Career Highlights

Pro Career:
Big, overpowering player has developed into one of the NFL's finest centers ... Easly one of the league's most under-rated players, he continually performs at a Pro Bowl level ... Took over the starting center job by the third game of his rookie season ... In the mold of Kansas City's greatest centers, E.J. Holub and Jack Rudnay ... Inherited the position from nine-time Pro Bowl center Mike Webster, who now assists the Chiefs strength and conditioning staff ...Led way for two 1,000-yard rushers (Barry Word in '90 and Christian Okoye in '91) ... Major part of Chiefs units that allowed 19 sacks in '94 (team-record low), 21 in '91 (second-fewest) and 22 in '90 (fourth fewest).

Was a force on an offensive line that helped Notre Dame generate a 24-1 record during his junior and senior years ... Started at right guard final two seasons, including Notre Dames '88 National Championship campaign ... Was a second team All-America pick by NEA and an honorable mention choice of UPI, The Sporting News and Football News ... Played in every game as a sophomore and made four starts at left guard... Handled the Irish deep snapping chores all four years ...Irish coach Lou Holtz said: "Tim's a throwback to a day when helmets could be folded up and stuck in your back pocket. He'd love football even if he didn't have a face mask" ... Was a first team All-Chicago Catholic League Offensive guard at St.Laurence High School in Burbank, Illinios ... Earned two letters in track and baseball

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