The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

February 28, 2006

McClain: Hands of Time

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:42 am

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Houston Chronicle
January 22, 1992
Hands of Time: Redskins’ Monk near all-time catches record
John McClain

MINNEAPOLIS — Unlike Buffalo receiver James Lofton, Washington’s Art Monk is uncomfortable struggling for answers to questions he does not especially want to answer. You can count on one hand the interviews Monk has granted in recent years.

Since the Redskins clinched a spot in Super Bowl XXVI, Monk actually has been doing interviews. He may not be singing like a canary, but at least the Sphinx is speaking.

“”Any time you get in this situation, you wonder if it could be your last,” Monk said Tuesday. “”You want to do everything you can to make the most of the situation. I’m sure a lot of players think that way. ” Monk stands at a podium surrounded by reporters. He answers politely, but he never elaborates. He looks as if he would rather be doing just about anything else — but then he breaks into a smile when asked about the importance of breaking Steve Largent’s NFL record of 819 career catches.

“”It’s important to me,” Monk said, knowing he needs only 19 to make history. “”I think it would be exciting to break the record.

“”Right now, I’m thinking about the Super Bowl, and the chance to break his record hasn’t really sunk in yet. Each year, it gets a little harder to play, and if I do break it, I’ll be very proud. ” Monk completed his 12th season with 801 catches — he had 71 this season, when he led the Redskins. He owns the NFL one-season record with 106 catches in 1984. Monk posted his fifth 1,000-yard season in 1991.

Monk is the senior member of the Posse, the Redskins’ outstanding corps of three receivers. Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders have different strengths.

“”Gary is an unusual character,” Monk said. “”He’s very tough on himself. He demands performance, not only of himself but other players around him. I think he motivates everybody. He’s very determined, the type of individual who is never going to give up.

He’s a deep threat because of his quickness and speed.

“”Ricky is more of a laid-back type of guy like myself. He’s used a lot for interior blocking as well as for throwing short and deep. I’m more of a possession-type receiver. I do a lot of blocking and catch a lot of short passes. ” Monk never has had blazing speed, but he has made adjustments. There are times when he would love to be like Lofton, who uses his speed and long stride to run so many deep routes.

“”He and I have different styles,” Monk said. “”He’s a fleet-footed receiver who makes plays down the field. Obviously, he wouldn’t have been around this long if he wasn’t talented, if he hadn’t gotten the job done so consistently.

“”James has great hands. I’ve always admired him. I just don’t see how he’s been able to maintain that great speed. I wish he would let me in on that secret. He’s running like he was 10 years ago.

“”Me, I feel like I’ve slowed down a couple of seconds. Hey, I’m struggling. But I know what my role is, and I accepted it a long time ago. We have other guys who go after the deep ball. I just have to make sure I’m in the right spots for the short ones. ” Before the Redskins selected him in the first round of the 1980 draft, there were times when Monk thought his NFL career might be at running back.

“”I was recruited by Syracuse as a receiver, but they moved me to running back for a couple of years because of injuries and eligibility problems with some other backs,” Monk said. “”When Joe Morris was ready to play running back, they moved me back to receiver.

“”I was glad to move back, too. I’ve always liked catching the ball more than running with it. ” And where might Monk be today if Morris had not come along and he had remained at running back?

“”I’d probably be back home in White Plains, N.Y.,” Monk said. “”If I had been a running back, I sure don’t think I’d be standing here today. ”                                                          

Monk’s marks All-time receiving

Player              Team       Rec  

Steve Largent      Seattle     819

Art Monk           Washington  801

Charlie Joiner     San Diego   750

Most seasons 50 or more receptions

Player                Team       No  

Steve Largent         Seattle    10

Art Monk              Washington  9

James Lofton          Buffalo     8

                                    

Most receptions, season

Player               Team  Yr   No  

Art Monk             Wash  1984  106

Char. Hennigan       Hou   1964  101

Lionel Taylor        Den   1961  100

Jerry Rice           S.F   1990  100

Hayw. Jeffires       Hou   1991  100

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John McClain

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:41 am

John McClain writes for the Houston Chronicle and is a long-time voter on the Hall of Fame committee.  He is often quoted by other Hall of Fame voters, so he must command some respect in the room.  He indicated in an e-mail that he supports Art Monk for the Hall.

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Houston Chronicle
February 4, 2006
By ripping up racial stereotypes and opposing defenses, Warren Moon has positioned himself for a spot in Canton
John McClain

A LOOK AT THE HALL CONTENDERS

There are 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

Locks

QB TROY AIKMAN

Three Super Bowls in four seasons should guarantee enshrinement.

DE REGGIE WHITE

The greatest defensive lineman in history was a phenomenal pass rusher.

Long shots

G RUSS GRIMM

A terrific Hog who was one of Washington’s best offensive linemen ever.

DE CLAUDE HUMPHREY

An underrated and respected pass rusher who played on a lot of bad teams.

DE L.C. GREENWOOD

One of the best players on four Super Bowl winners can’t get over this hump.

On the bubble

QB WARREN MOON

Among the greatest passers in history but didn’t play in a Super Bowl.

RB THURMAN THOMAS

Eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and four Super Bowls.

WR MICHAEL IRVIN

The best receiver and team leader on three Cowboys Super Bowl winners.

OT RAYFIELD WRIGHT

Tom Landry called him the best offensive lineman in franchise history.

COACH JOHN MADDEN

His .759 winning percentage is best for coaches with 100 victories.

WR ART MONK

Three-time Super Bowl winner retired as leading receiver in Redskins history.

LB HARRY CARSON

The second-best defensive player on a two-time Super Bowl champion.

T/G BOB KUECHENBERG

A versatile offensive lineman who excelled for two Super Bowl teams.

OT GARY ZIMMERMAN

Earned recognition on two All-Decade teams and two Super Bowl rings.

OLB DERRICK THOMAS

One of NFL’s most explosive and feared pass rushers.

Cliff Christl

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:16 am

Cliff Christl writes for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and he is a relatively new voter on the Hall of Fame Committee.  He is also one of the voters that is outspokenly against Art Monk’s induction into the Hall.  He also would not have voted for Charlie Joiner or Steve Largent, so perhaps we shouldn’t hold it against him:

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http://www.jsonline.com/packer/insider/site/weblogs.asp?id=3&month=2&year=2005
JS Online: Weblog
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005
Hall of Fame Meeting
Cliff Christl

This year, we’ve been criticized mainly for not selecting Michael Irvin and Derrick Thomas. I believe both players belong in the Hall of Fame, but also realize that this was a strong group of finalists and it forced me and maybe some others to make some tough decisions in narrowing the field from 15 to 10 to six. That said, when Irvin reached the final six, it was simply a yes or no vote. I voted yes, but all it took was eight no votes out of 39 to deprive him of induction.

The other criticism I’ve heard is that Art Monk belongs in the Hall. Again, I understand where his supporters are coming from. He left the game as the all-time leading receiver, with three Super Bowl rings and having stood the test of time. I also believe he was as good as or better than some receivers already in the Hall: Charlie Joiner, Lynn Swann and Steve Largent, among them. But Joiner, Swann and Largent were all voted in before I got on the committee and I doubt if I would have voted for any of them.

On the flip side, Monk averaged only 13.5 yards per catch. He was tough across the middle, a superb blocker and and a selfless player, but he was never a big playmaker. That bothers me. He also was named to only three Pro Bowls in 16 years. I looked back at some old player rankings that reflected a consensus of scouts’ opinions from when Monk played. I didn’t have every year, but the highest Monk was ever rated was fourth. One year he was sixth. But there were years when he wasn’t rated in the top 12. There also were years when one of his fellow wide receivers on the Redskins was rated ahead of him, including Gary Clark. In essence, Monk was never really regarded as one of the top three, four receivers in the game. More often than not, he was ranked about 10th.

Is that good enough to get in the Hall, when you consider that he was a very good player for 15 years? Or should the Hall be open only to the very best: The players who rank among the top three, four at their positions over an extended period? That’s why Monk has been a tough call for me.

But they’re almost all tough. I’ve had several personnel people tell me that Roger Wehrli was one of the great cornerbacks of all time. Among the scouts that I’ve talked to, Wehrli draws more praise than Monk. Ron Wolf told me that if we studied game film, Wehrli would be a cinch to make it. Yet Wehrli didn’t get past the first vote.

How many talk radio hosts took up his cause? Probably very few, if any, because they don’t know anything about him. And that’s my point. How many of our critics know that most scouts never rated Monk among the top eight to 10 receivers in the game, except for maybe after two or three of his biggest seasons?

February 27, 2006

Jerry Green

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:17 am

Jerry Green is a legend in the sportswriting business, and he has been covering the Detroit Lions since before Superbowl I.  Unfortunately, I don’t have access to old archives of the Detroit News, and he hasn’t written very much about the Hall of Fame recently.  Your guess on his vote is as good as mine.

Jeff Legwold

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:13 am

Jeff Legwold was the Hall of Fame voter for the Tennessee Titans before he moved to Denver and took the spot for the Broncos.  He has written very little regarding Art Monk though, so I have no idea how he is voting.

Here’s an article about James Lofton:

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The Tennessean
February 1, 2003
Dent looks to join Bears staff
Jeff Legwold

There has been some chatter since Saturday’s Hall of Fame announcement about whether wide receiver James Lofton should have been elected.

However, Lofton’s career numbers will certainly stand the test of time. Lofton is third all-time in receiving yards at 14,004 and while that total will be surpassed by several players from this pass-happy era, Lofton’s yards per catch average shows the quality of his work.

Lofton’s career yards per catch were 18.3 – that’s fifth-best among Hall of Famers – and it has been three years since any receiver in the league averaged at least that much for even a single season.

This past season, none of the top 10 receivers in the league averaged at least 15 yards per catch.

The fact Lofton also did all of that while playing his entire home career outdoors in Green Bay and Buffalo and not in a dome made him Hall worthy.

Marino is one of 15 finalists who will be considered for induction. A maximum of six can be voted into the Hall.

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Rocky Mountain News
February 5, 2005
Big Day for Marino; Ex-Dolphin Headilnes Group for Hall of Fame
Jeff Legwold

The other finalists are: Harry Carson, Richard Dent, Benny Friedman, L.C. Greenwood, Russ Grimm, Claude Humphrey, Michael Irvin, Bob Kuechenberg, Art Monk, Fritz Pollard, Derrick Thomas, Roger Wehrli, George Young and Steve Young.

February 24, 2006

Gosselin: Monk Taylor-Made for the Hall of Fame (1992)

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 12:10 pm

Rick Gosselin was among many sportswriters that thought Monk was destined for the Hall of Fame in 1992: 

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Dallas Morning News
September 5, 1992
Monk taylor-made for Hall of Fame
Rick Gosselin

It was Draft Day 1980, and the anticipation level at Redskins Park was at a suffocating height.

The Washington Redskins had a first-round draft pick. Finally.

Forget that it was the 17th overall selection – too late to grab one of the franchise players in the draft. It would be the first time the Redskins had a No. 1 pick in an NFL draft since 1968.

General Manager Bobby Beathard had identified the areas of need on his 10-6 team – an aging pass rush, no speed in the backfield and the lack of a deep threat. The depth in the draft was at running back, and popular local opinion had the Redskins using their pick on Heisman Trophy winner Charles White, Joe Cribbs or Vagas Ferguson.

Instead, the Redskins claimed a former running back, Art Monk of Syracuse. It was a bit of a projection because Monk had been a runner until his senior year, when he was switched to wide receiver. He posted modest numbers in his one season on the flank – 40 catches and three touchdowns – and appeared to be a reach by the Redskins.

But not in Beathard’s mind. At the news conference after the pick, Beathard said Monk “can come real close” to being another Charley Taylor. Talk about putting a young player on the spot. Taylor had retired from the Redskins just two seasons earlier as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver.

Thirteen years later, Monk has not come close to Taylor – he has zoomed past him. And with 19 more receptions this season, Monk will have sped past everyone else, too. He ranks second on pro football’s all-time receiving list with 801 catches. Only Steve Largent has more.

“I knew I had some ability,” Monk said. “But I didn’t know whether I’d be able to compete at this level. When I signed my first contract, I thought I’d play out those years and that would be it. But I got excited, got some confidence in myself and wanted to play some more.”

Before Monk could begin his quest for records in 1980, he needed the stamp of approval of players whose records he would chase. Beathard was sold on Monk but wanted two other members of the organization to study him – administrative assistant Bobby Mitchell and Taylor, who was then a scout.

Mitchell and Taylor made successful switches from running back to wide receiver during their careers with the Redskins. Mitchell made the move in his fifth season in 1962 and Taylor in his third season in 1966.

Both were good running backs – Mitchell went to the Pro Bowl once and Taylor was the NFL Rookie of the Year – but both became Hall of Fame receivers. Mitchell retired in 1969 as the NFL’s second all-time leading receiver with 521 catches. Taylor retired in 1978 on top with 649.

Who better to judge Monk’s star potential than the in-house experts on switching positions and catching passes? So Mitchell went up to Syracuse to see Monk in the fall, and Taylor made the trip in the winter.

For Mitchell, visiting Monk was like revisiting his former teammate Taylor. They had similar size (6-3, 210), speed and strength. They also were dynamic after the catch.

“I liked Art’s run ability,” Mitchell said. “As soon as he got the ball, you could see him divorce himself from the defensive player. Even if he ran a bad pattern, if the ball got there, he would still separate himself. He looked like a natural.”

So Mitchell gave thumbs up to Beathard.

Taylor saw a slightly more polished version of Monk when he visited Syracuse. Monk had a full season at the position by then. He still had a long way to go, but Taylor liked his chances. He also gave Monk his nod of approval.

“His talent was obvious,” Taylor said.

It took Monk five years before he slapped his name at the top of his profession with a 106-catch, 1,372-yard season in 1984. It gave him his only NFL receiving crown and first Pro Bowl berth. He has had four 1,000-yard seasons and two Pro Bowl berths since.

Monk has delivered for the Redskins in a variety of capacities. Early in his career, he was the club’s deep threat. But when Washington signed speedy Smurfs Clark and Sanders out of the USFL in the mid-1980s, Monk became the possession receiver. So he has been as flexible in the scheme as he has been productive in it.

Monk has averaged 66 catches per season in his career. But he has picked up the pace in his pursuit of Largent. Since hitting age 30, Monk has averaged 74 catches per year.

“I’ve always thought of Art as the Joe DiMaggio of football,” Casserly said. “DiMaggio always had the reputation of being a class act. He was a great player who never said much or showed much emotion.

“People might say well, Joe DiMaggio was a great player. But this guy’s stats were great, too, if not better. When you add it up in the end, you’ll have a guy who had the most catches in a season and in a career, three (Super Bowl) rings and no reason to not be in the Hall of Fame.”

Rick Gosselin

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 12:08 pm

Rick Gosselin is a longtime sportswriter for the Dallas Morning News.  He is highly acclaimed and has written many times about Art Monk over his career. 

The conventional wisdom on the internet is that Gosselin opposes Art Monk’s induction into the Hall of Fame because he is from Dallas and because of one e-mail he sent to a fan on CPND a while ago.  However, he now refuses to answer e-mail’s about the question, and his published words send rather mixed signals on the subject.

I still think he is against Monk, especially since he most likely supports Michael Irvin over Monk, but I also think he is relatively honest in his assessment of Hall of Fame candidates and he is probably not as adamantly against Monk as some other voters.

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Dallas Morning News
October 13, 1992
Redskins regain form to route Broncos, 34-3
Rick Gosselin

The Washington Redskins still own the AFC — and Art Monk now owns the NFL receiving record.

The struggling Redskins crushed the Denver Broncos, 34-3, Monday night in their first game against an AFC team since blasting the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl last January. It was Washington’s seventh consecutive victory over AFC competition and thrust the Redskins back into the NFC East race with a 3-2 mark.

The nationally televised game was a snooze — but those who tuned out early missed the record-setting performance by Monk late. He caught seven passes against the Broncos to overtake Steve Largent as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver with 820 catches.

“This is a big burden off my shoulders,’ Monk said. “The anticipation was unbelievable. I was very nervous before the game, and that’s something I’m not used to. I’m excited. I don’t know how to act.

I’m just glad it’s over. ‘ Monk headed into the game needing seven catches to pass Largent, who had 819 in his 14-year career. Monk chipped away with catches in the first, second and third quarters, then added his fourth catch in the opening stages of the final period.

With the game in hand and only 4:14 remaining, the Redskins decided to get Monk his record. Mark Rypien completed passes to Monk on three consecutive plays with machine-gun efficiency — a six-yard hook, a flat pass that Monk turned upfield into an 18-yard gain and, finally, a 10-yard sideline out — to put him over the top.

“The only thing we padded for him were those last three,’ Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. “The rest was all him. He’s such a class act. We decided, “Hey, it’s Monday night . . . let’s get this thing out of the way. ‘ I didn’t want to let it build another week. Now he can relax. ‘ The Redskins, who last week blew an 18-point lead in a 27-24 loss at Phoenix, also can breathe easier now that they are back in the race. They trail Dallas and Philadelphia by one game — and the Eagles visit RFK Stadium on Sunday.

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Dallas Morning News
September 19, 1993
Fourth and Inches
Rick Gosselin

Tracking

Art Monk, Washington

Monk no longer starts for the Redskins but he still catches.

And history says no one catches any better. Monk is the NFL’s all-time leading receiver with 854 catches and continues to chug along in pursuit of his next record. If Monk catches a pass Sunday against Philadelphia, it will extend his pass-catching streak to 151 consecutive games – the second longest in NFL history. He currently is tied with Cleveland tight end Ozzie Newsome at 150.

Steve Largent holds the NFL record with catches in 177 consecutive games.

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Dallas Morning News
July 31, 1994
Free agency eliminates uniformity
Rick Gosselin

The Washington Redskins let wide receiver Art Monk go after 14 seasons and an NFL-record 888 catches. The Kansas City Chiefs said goodbye to kicker Nick Lowery after 14 seasons and 1,466 points, fourth best in NFL history. Each now plays for the Jets. It’s sad they have to finish up such storied careers so far away from home.

The game will survive the system. It always does. Old stars leave, and new stars arrive. But with a salary cap, those old stars won’t be staying around as long, nor will they be staying in the same place. And that’s a shame. An Art Monk belongs in Washington – not New York.

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Dallas Morning News
December 18, 1994
Fourth and Inches
Rick Gosselin

Numbers Game

Art Monk, NY Jets

Monk is pro football’s all-time leading receiver with 932 catches and counting. He also holds the NFL record with receptions in 178 consecutive games and counting. Here’s a look at his Hall of Fame-bound career by the numbers:

0 – rushing touchdowns (in 63 career carries)

1 – NFL receiving title (106 catches in 1984)

2 – Career 200-yard receiving games

3 – Games held without a catch in his 219-game career

4 – Redskins’ receiving records (catches in game, season, career, career yards)

5 – 1,000-yard seasons

6 – Career catches vs. Jets, his current team

7 – Career touchdowns in post-season

8 – Pro Bowl receptions in three games

9 – Super Bowl receptions in three games

10 – 100-yard games against AFC teams

11 – Games missed because of injuries

12 – NFL quarterbacks with completions to Monk

13 – Career fumbles

14 – TD’s against Cardinals, Monk’s opponent high

15 – NFL seasons

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Dallas Morning News
August 6, 1995
Fourth and Inches
Rick Gosselin

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2000 could be an impressive one. Start with Joe Montana and Art Monk. Tight end Mark Bavaro and safety Dennis Smith might join them. Karl Mecklenburg, Mike Kenn and Max Montoya also would receive consideration.

Montana, Bavaro and Kenn head the list of players who officially retired at the end of the 1994 season. Monk and Smith have not retired yet but both were cut by their teams in the off-season and a lack of interest may force them into retirement, too. Montana is the NFL’s second all-time leading passer and Monk the all-time receiver.

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http://mb20.scout.com/fcpndhardcorefrm43.showMessage?topicID=708.topic
CPND
Rick Gosselin’s answer to my email RE: MONK
Rat Boy

George,
Here’s the question that came up in the committee discussion last year — what was his signature catch? What was the greatest catch of his career? No one could identify it.
Rick Gosselin

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Dallas Morning News
July 19, 2005
Brown’s toughest catch might be pass from Hall
Rick Gosselin

Tim Brown announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, signing a one-day contract with Oakland to go out as a Raider.

That puts Brown in position to be enshrined in Canton alongside Emmitt Smith in 2010.

But is it that obvious that Brown belongs in a class with the NFL’s all-time leading rusher?

Only two players caught more passes in NFL history than Brown and only one gained more yards. His 100 career touchdowns also rank third all-time among pass catchers. There’s no question Brown has the statistics to be in the Hall of Fame. But did he have the impact?

Art Monk won three Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins and caught 940 passes – fifth on the all-time list – but can’t get into Canton. He’s been passed over each of the last five years. Clearly the measuring stick for pass catchers has changed with the explosion of receiving statistics in the 1990s.

Brown played one more season than Monk and finished with 150 more catches. But he also has three fewer Super Bowl rings, and team success has always weighed heavily in a Hall of Fame candidacy.

For all of his 1,070 catches in his 16 seasons in Oakland, Brown’s Raiders advanced to the playoffs only six times and reached only one Super Bowl, where they were blowout losers to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If Monk gets into the Hall of Fame in the next five years, Brown will likely follow him in. But if Monk is still on the outside in 2010, sheer volume may not be enough to get Brown in either.

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Dallas Morning News
July 18, 2005
SportsSay Blog
Rick Gosselin

There’s been some interesting chatter over the weekend on TV, radio and in sports bars about Rafael Palmeiro. Jacques touched on it in the final blog item of last Friday — Hall of Famer or not? His statistics indicate he belongs. But the statistics indicate that Art Monk belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he remains on the outside.

There seems to be a trend by Hall of Fame voters in football to look beyond the stats these days in assigning greatness. I wonder if that’s the case in baseball, too? I wonder if the fact Palmeiro never played in a World Series hurts him at all? Maybe Gerry or Evan can weigh in on this one — is Palmeiro a slam-dunk Hall of Famer or not?

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http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/columnists/rgosselin/stories/020506dnspogosselin.2864f44.html
Dallas Morning News
February 5, 2006
Hall of Fame selection committee proves heart is in right place
Rich Gosselin

You could have selected any six of the 15 and produced a strong class. Art Monk didn’t even make the cut to 10. Thurman Thomas was eliminated in the cut to six. If there was an anti-Cowboys bias on this committee, there were plenty of other worthy alternatives.

February 23, 2006

Tony Grossi

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 5:38 pm

Tony Grossi has covered the Browns and the NFL for the Cleveland Plain Dealer since the mid-80’s.  He hasn’t written much about Art Monk, but in a recent reader Q&A, he seemed to indicate that he doesn’t support Art for the Hall of Fame, citing his lack of Pro Bowls.

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Cleveland Plain Dealer
September 25, 2005
A move that legends are made of
Tony Grossi

Finding room in the Hall: In a recent rule change, the Pro Football Hall of Fame limits its induction class to a maximum of six each year. That means somebody very deserving won’t make it in 2006.

Take a look at some of the candidates who are eligible for the first time: Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Thurman Thomas, Irving Fryar, Andre Reed, Reggie White.

And the candidates who have been knocking on the door: Michael Irvin, Art Monk, Harry Carson.

And the two candidates already voted to the finalist list of 15 by the senior committee: John Madden and Rayfield Wright.

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http://www.cleveland.com/browns/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/sports/1137934577180880.xml&coll=2
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 22, 2006
HEY, TONY!
Tony Grossi

Q:Hey, Tony: How can you not vote for Art Monk for the Hall of Fame? He had 940 career catches, 12,721 yards, 68 touchdowns, and 106 catches in a season when no one got near 100. How has he gone this long without getting compared to Steve Largent, James Lofton, etc.? — Tyrone O’Connor, Detroit

A:Hey, Tyrone: One of the knocks on Monk has been that he made the Pro Bowl three times in 16 years. Thus, if he was not considered one of the best receivers of his era, how could he be considered one of the best of all time? I go into each Hall of Fame meeting with an open mind and intend to listen intently to the latest debate on Monk on Feb. 4.

 

February 21, 2006

Chick Ludwig

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 2:19 pm

Chick Ludwig has written for the Dayton Daily News for over 25 years.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to find archives of his paper, but just last year he wrote something that seems to indicate he is a supporter of Art Monk:

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Dayton Daily News
January 30, 2005
At least one former Bengal will get a ring
Chick Ludwig

Time to vote: As a member of the 39-man Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, I honestly can say the only lock for election this year is Dan Marino. I also like – among others – Harry Carson, Art Monk, Claude Humphrey and senior nominees Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman.

February 20, 2006

Pierson: Monk vs. Lofton Grabs You (1992)

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 10:54 am

This is a separate entry because Don Pierson wrote one of the best articles about Art Monk that I’ve found by a non-Washington sports writer.  It was the week before Super Bowl XVI, when everyone knew Art Monk was headed to the Hall of Fame:

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The Chicago Tribune
January 17, 1992
Monk vs. Lofton Grabs You
Don Pierson

Art Monk and James Lofton have caught everything except Steve Largent and the spotlight on football’s biggest stage. Now, on their way to the Hall of Fame, their careers intersect for a moment in Minneapolis in a Super Bowl that could be dedicated to the two old receivers.

This is the Redskins’ fourth Super Bowl since Monk was their No. 1 draft choice in 1980, but he has caught only two passes. In 1982, he missed the game after suffering a broken foot in the regular season finale. In 1983, Monk caught only one pass for 26 yards when the Redskins were blown out 38-9 by the Raiders. In 1987, Monk missed the first two playoff games with a knee injury and returned to the Super Bowl to catch Doug Williams’ first completion in Washington’s 42-10 rout of Denver.

“It’s the only thing I really haven’t done. It means a lot,” Monk said this week in a rare interview.

Art Monk. The name describes his profession and his personality. Because he prefers example to exhibition, others must speak about him.

“We had just watched him catch a pass and run over a defensive back (Monk, like Walter Payton, doesn’t like to run out of bounds). He came off the field and everybody was laughing, saying ‘He didn’t realize how heavy you were,’ ” defensive end Charles Mann said. “Art constantly tries to lose weight. He weights 210, not an ounce of fat, and he’s not happy.

“In the off-season last year, he never missed a weight workout. From March 1 until training camp, there are 55 workouts you can get. He had all 55. My wife has set up a Monk watch. We’ve been clipping out stories and sending them to his wife. Otherwise, he wouldn’t see it.”

Gary Clark, the most productive Redskin receiver, says: “We all want to be the best receiver on the team, but we know that Monk is the best.”

In the Redskins’ playoff loss to the 49ers last season, San Francisco nose tackle Michael Carter intercepted a pass late in the 28-10 game and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown. There was no chance for anyone to catch him and no reason to try, except here came Art Monk out of the corner of everyone’s eye, racing from downfield at full speed, giving futile chase to a lost cause, not because he had a shot to catch him but because Art Monk is a professional.

“A pure competitor,” said Bobby Mitchell, Redskins’ assistant general manager and Hall of Fame receiver himself. “He doesn’t waste his energy talking about who’s the best, who’s getting the glory, who’s catching the most balls.”

The son of a construction worker and a second cousin of jazzman Thelonius Monk, Monk works at his craft with a “no-nonsense” attitude that rubs off, according to receivers coach Charley Taylor, another Hall of Famer in the Redskins’ fold.

“How Art Monk goes, we go. He can catch two balls in practice or three or 15. He works the same. Guys look at him and they don’t get upset when balls don’t come their way,” Taylor said.

Monk once told the Washington Post: “The great times are when you reach a point in a ballgame where I know they’re really looking at me to take control of a situation. Once you feel that, you just respond to it. It takes control of you. You get into a groove with the quarterback.”

Monk has a mirror at his locker, the only clue that he occasionally notices himself and fulfils the psychological profile of receivers studied by Dr. Arnold J. Mandell during his 1972 season with the San Diego Chargers.

“The wide receiver is a very special human being. He shares many features with actors and movie stars,” Mandell wrote. “He is narcissistic and vain and basically a loner.”

If Monk were a willing spokesman for his sport, he might be able to share additional insight beyond his aversion to Super Bowl hype.

“It’s everything that I don’t particularly care for. All the media and all the attention . . . a lot of confusion. I’d rather just be behind the scenes,” he said.

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