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