The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

May 17, 2006

05-17-06: Status Report

Filed under: News — DjTj @ 11:05 am

After three months of research, here is the count of Hall of Fame voters:

No: 6 (8 or more prevents induction)
Yes: 18 (32 or more guarantees induction)
Unknown/Maybe: 15

They basically fall into five categories:

The Enemy (3): These are voters actively trying to keep Art Monk out of the Hall of Fame through their columns and their arguments in the voting room:

Green Bay: Cliff Christl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
New York (Jets): Paul Zimmerman, Sports Illustrated
At Large: Peter King, Sports Illustrated

Our Heroes (4): These voters are actively campaigning for Art Monk's induction into the Hall of Fame through their columns or through presentations in the voting room:

St. Louis: Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Washington: Len Shapiro, Washington Post
PFWA: David Elfin, Washington Times
At Large: Mike Wilbon, Washington Post

The Doubters (3): These voters have bought many of the arguments made by the enemy, and they are probably voting against Art Monk.  However, they aren't actively campaigning against Art, and maybe they could even change their minds:

Dallas: Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News
New England: Ron Borges, Boston Globe
At Large: Len Pasquarelli,

The Fan Club (14): This is the largest identifiable block of voters, and the people here support Art Monk and have been voting for him, but they haven't been very public about it and possibly don't like to talk much about Hall of Fame voting to respect the sanctity of the process.  They're listed in *very* rough order according to their support for Art:

Atlanta: Furman Bisher, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Baltimore: Scott Garceau, WMAR-TV
Carolina: Charles Chandler, Charlotte Observer
Cincinnati: Chick Ludwig, Dayton Daily News
Jacksonville: Sam Kouvaris, WJXT-TV
San Francisco: Ira Miller, San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle: John Clayton, ESPN/ESPN Magazine
Houston: John McClain, Houston Chronicle
Tampa Bay: Ira Kaufman, Tampa Tribune
Tennessee: David Climer, The Tennessean
At Large: Jarrett Bell, USA Today
Oakland: Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
At Large: Bob Oates, Los Angeles Times
Chicago: Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune

The Unknowns (15): Just under half the voters have either sent mixed signals or no signals at all.  They can be roughly divided into three sub-groups:

Not Sold on Monk (4):
Buffalo: Mark Gaughan, Buffalo News
Cleveland: Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Kansas City: Bob Gretz, KCFX Overland Park, KS
Philadelphia: Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News

Leaning Towards Monk (3):
Minnesota: Sid Hartman, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Pittsburgh: Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
San Diego: Jerry Magee, San Diego Union Tribune

Total Mysteries (8):
Arizona: Kent Somers, Arizona Republic
Denver: Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
Detroit: Jerry Green, The Detroit News
Indianapolis: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star
Miami: Edwin Pope, Miami Herald
New Orleans: Peter Finney, Times-Picayune
New York (Giants): Vinny DiTrani, Bergen Record
At Large: Dave Goldberg, Associated Press

There are still 5 months until the first Hall of Fame cut and 9 months until the final vote.  That's plenty of time to do more research, so if anyone uncovers any information about these voters, especially the unknowns, please leave a comment on this site.

May 13, 2006

Michael Wilbon

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 11:34 am

Over the past few months, this blog has canvassed the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Michael Wilbon is the last voter on the list, so with all 39 voters profiled, the count is:

6 No; 18 Yes; 15 Unknown/Maybe

Michael Wilbon covered the Redskins for the Post throughout Art Monk's career, so he's written plenty about him.  He was the one presenting Art's case to the committee for many years, and he's as disappointed as anyone that Art isn't in yet.

Washington Post
November 2, 1981
Twice Burned at Outset, Cardinals Smolder at End
Michael Wilbon

Third play of the day: Redskin wide receiver Art Monk ran a simple post pattern down the right sideline. He gave St. Louis cornerback Carl Allen a head fake right, cut inside, caught a pass from Joe Theismann at about the 10 and ran in for a 38-yard touchdown. The game was 61 seconds old.

Washington Post
September 13, 1982
Ineptness on Defense Has Vermeil Fuming
Michael Wilbon

The Philadelphia defense stumbled badly on important plays throughout the game. But those most frequently replayed in the Eagle locker room afterward were two touchdown receptions by Redskin Charlie Brown, playing his first regular-season game as a pro, and two catches by Art Monk which led to the tying and winning field goals.

Brown and Monk beat Eagle veteran Herman Edwards all afternoon, including Brown's 78-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that began the Washington comeback. Edwards went for an interception, but missed, on Monk's 27-yard catch that set up Mark Moseley's game-winning field goal in overtime. Still, Edwards refused to fault himself.

Washington Post
September 1, 1989
Of Game-Breakers and Big-Play Makers
Michael Wilbon

Is Art Monk a game-breaking receiver? Probably not. He has been perhaps the league's best and most consistent receiver this decade, running the tough routes and making the plays that open the field for others. It's not that Monk couldn't be a game-breaker; it's simply the way the Redskins choose to use him. His 72 receptions and 13.1 yard average per reception say Monk — a lot like the Jets' Al Toon (93 catches, five touchdowns, 11-yard average) — is the heart of the offense, but doesn't get the glory.

Washington Post
December 21, 1989
Vikings, Bengals Head Lineups
Michael Wilbon

The NFC team features well-known names from traditionally strong teams, and reflects the new-found muscle of the NFC Central. Sterling Sharpe of the Packers joined the 49ers' Jerry Rice as starting wide receivers. Henry Ellard of the Rams was an expected choice, but John Taylor of the 49ers was a surprise pick over the Washington Redskins' Art Monk. Taylor caught touchdown passes of 92 and 96 yards in a Week 14 Monday night game against the Rams.

Washington Post
December 27, 1989
NOTEBOOK; Coaches of the Year? Reeves and Parcells
Michael Wilbon

Surprise Stats: Art Monk isn't the only wide receiver who has a right to feel snubbed by his peers in last week's Pro Bowl balloting. Mark Carrier of Tampa Bay had nine 100-yard days but was passed over. Guess who had the most rushing attempts in one season this decade? Tampa Bay's James Wilder, who carried 407 times in 1984, helping explain why he never was so good after that season. . . .

Washington Post
November 5, 1990
The Draw — and the Ace in the Hole
Michael Wilbon

There were too many Washington heroes to count. Art Monk's 13 catches tied his career high and team record. None was more important than the 40-yard completion in OT that took the Redskins from third and 15 at their 5 to near midfield. Eric Williams, a Lion two months ago, knocked ex-teammate Rodney Peete out of the game, rendering the Detroit offense useless down the stretch. Joe Jacoby came in for injured Jim Lachey. Gerald Riggs ran, Kelvin Bryant caught.

Washington Post
October 7, 1991
A Familiar Feeling
Michael Wilbon

When the camera lights are on and the notebooks open, players talk about taking it one week at a time, not attaching too much significance to any one victory and so on and so on. But at some point during the course of a special season, private thoughts are radically different. Teams know. They just do. When you beat the Bears, flawed as they are, when you stuff the Monsters in the wind and the cold of Soldier Field, when you win against a perennial playoff team on the road in the absence of both a running game and a great passing performance, you've got more than a hint.

Art Monk has been there. In 1982, '83 and '87, all Super Bowl seasons. If he's not there now, he's close. In the wake of a 20-7 victory Sunday that ran the Washington Redskins' record to 6-0, someone asked if this is perhaps the best team Monk has played on. He hesitated for just a second and said: "Yeah, I would say so. Not just because of our record. But there's a closeness, a confidence that just reminds me of our '83 team. Determined. We're just playing that way."

Monk is talking about a team feeling that it can stop the opponent's best rusher, shut out its pass rush, force the opponent to abandon what it does best. That's what the Redskins are doing. It was nice to beat the Lions, Cardinals, Cowboys and Bengals. But these last two wins, over the Eagles and the Bears, this is where determination turns to steely will.

"We're determined that we're not going to let anything stop us," Monk said, without the slightest trace of arrogance. "We come in with a game plan and if it doesn't work, we keep changing it and changing it until something works. There's a feeling you get that no one can stop you. It's not to say you can't be stopped, but the feeling is you can't be. You feel like, 'Hey, we're going to win no matter what. If we're down three on the last possession of the game, we're coming back.' "

The Redskins surely didn't have to worry about that Sunday, largely because Monk made at least two remarkable plays, caught both touchdown passes and reminded one of the league's best secondaries that even at 33 he can kill you. "I obviously don't perform, at least I don't think so, the way I used to," he said.

Tell that to the Bears.

On the Redskins' first touchdown drive, it was third and eight and looked like another field goal opportunity, when Monk improvised a route to get open for a 26-yard touchdown pass that led to a 10-0 lead.

At 10-7, on fourth and four, Monk took two jarring hits but held on to a 12-yard pass that kept alive the drive that resulted in his second touchdown reception, and a 17-7 lead. Of course if helped that the Bears were preoccupied with Ricky Sanders on the first touchdown, and with Gary Clark on the second. Clark still is the most underrated player — not receiver, player — in the league. But ask yourself this: If you've got one tick of the clock left and you've got to have a touchdown pass, whom do you want to throw to?

1. Jerry Rice.

2. Art Monk.

Great teams win on days they don't play great, because there's a Hall of Fame player or two to pull them through. That's what Monk did Sunday.

The rushing attack, which had been high octane this season, produced just 75 yards. The Bears decided to commit heavily to stopping the run. The new book on the Redskins seems to be stop Earnest Byner and Gerald Riggs, make Mark Rypien beat you. Rip had some more shaky moments, but he delivered when necessary. This criticism of the Redskins quarterback might be getting a little out of hand.

He's not Montana, he's not ever going to be Montana. He's going to throw some interceptions. He's going to struggle and at times make Redskins fans throw up their hands and holler. He's a sixth-round draft choice. It's unfair to expect him to play like a first-rounder. Sunday's tally of one interception, two touchdowns was more than adequate.

Mike Ditka drew some laughs when discussing the performance of his quarterback, Jim Harbaugh, who talked a tough game during the week and played like the quarterback from the University of Michigan that he is. "I don't think [Harbaugh] played any worse than their guy," Ditka said.

Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs, however, said, "Mark is 6-0, that's all I care about."

Rypien doesn't have to carry the team, as we saw again Sunday. That's what Monk, Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Monte Coleman and Jeff Bostic, among others, are there for.

"We've got seven or eight guys," Gibbs said, "who've been in there for the full 11 years and I think some of them think that this may be their last shot to get to the Super Bowl and that helped motivate us."

The Bears used to turn in motivated performances, almost routinely, especially at home, which is why some of us saw the Redskins' undefeated season becoming blemished here. But the old Bears, if not completely dead, are on life support.

Guess how many times Dent, Fridge, McMichael & Co. sacked Rip? Try none. Not once. They barely touched him. Linebacker John Roper got in Rip's face once and made him throw a little wider than he wanted, but there was little other pressure. "Yeah, I'd say that was pretty much the only time they hurried me," Rip said.

So the offensive line, with starting right tackle Ed Simmons on injured reserve and future Hall of Famer Russ Grimm playing the utility role, is looking like the original Hogs. It's playing like it has the feeling. So is the defense. And the special teams.

It's a feeling that lets a team soar just high enough, without reaching arrogance. "Arrogance? No, we don't take it that far," Monk said. "We'll stay on our P's and Q's. It can be tough only if you let it."

Washington Post
January 29, 1992
Redskins Beat Opponents to the Rhythm of Their Oldies
Michael Wilbon

Nothing plays like class. If you want to know why the Washington Redskins are champions, again, look no further than Art Monk, Don Warren, Monte Coleman, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Darrell Green and Charles Mann.

A former teammate, Joe Theismann, was asked early Monday morning about the lot of them. As the names rolled off the tongue, Theismann nodded in reverence. The question was never finished. "You can't overstate the value of the veteran nucleus," he said. "Smart football players, with ability and character. It all sounds so simple. Maybe it is if you have those guys."

The Big Chill, that's what these elite eight are. The film of Super Bowl XXVI should be set to Motown oldies.

Joe Gibbs has a zillion strengths as a coach. Perhaps the most important is he appreciates the human resouces he has at hand. On some teams, a controversy might have been created trying to figure out who to start among wide receivers Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. Not with the Redskins. Several years ago, Gibbs told the three of them to decide among themselves who would start.

For Sunday's Super Bowl coin toss, Gibbs sent out eight co-captains: Coleman and Stephen Hobbs for the special teams; Mann, Green and Wilber Marshall for the defense; Monk, Warren and Bostic for the offense.

Jacoby and Grimm were there in spirit, and probably didn't need to waste any of the few steps remaining in their thirty something knees walking to midfield on that hard turf.

The Redskins' victory was reflective of the entire season. It was virtually impossible to pick an MVP. "We never had anybody fighting for personal goals," Gibbs said. "The victory was typical in that there was no superstar out there. From day one, I never got upset with this team. A lot of that comes from those eight guys, the guys we sent out there for the coin toss.

"I was always able to concentrate on the X's and O's." Gibbs held up a clenched fist and said, "They were like that."

Standard operating procedure in most NFL locker rooms at halftime is for the head coach or an assistant to talk about the first five minutes of the third quarter. But before any of the coaches could get to the topic, the Monks and Warrens started in with the younger players: "Now the first five minutes of the third quarter . . . ."

If you walk into the Bills' locker room, what is it you seize? Probably that you can walk around day and night with a chip on your shoulder, duck-walk into your Super Bowl introduction, whine and moan about media attention, proclaim you're the best defensive player in the league, or the best all-purpose this and that.

If you're a new player and you arrive at Redskin Park, it takes all of about five seconds to realize you shut up, work, accept your role at all costs, and win.

The Redskins, at best, are about the fourth-most talented team in the NFL. The Vikings have as much natural ability as the Redskins. The Bickering Bills are light years ahead of them. But you can see how overrated that is, after two teams of the same ilk, the Giants and Redskins, walked in and won championships from Buffalo.

Gibbs cited Gerald Riggs as a good example. While star Bills running back Thurman Thomas moaned about the number of carries he got, Riggs, a one-time star, a man who was accustomed to being the whole show, accepted, even embraced, his short-yardage-only role. He got five carries Sunday, two touchdowns.

"The guy played his role all year and didn't say a word about other guys getting the carries," Gibbs said.

You might wonder why Hobbs was out for the coin flip, but nobody inside the Redskins organization does. He's new to the Big Chill mix, a clubhouse force, an organizer of special teams and critical internally. Gibbs knows he can't replace them all at once; in fact, he'll probably never replace them. "Fortunately for me," he said, "most of them had good years," meaning he won't have to consider cutting any of them just yet. "For the last couple of years, I've leaned on them heavily. They know where their bread is buttered. If the team does well, they do well."

Theismann told a story about himself in 1983. "I got good," he said, "when I decided Joe Theismann wasn't the star of the Washington Redskins. The natural tendency when you have success is to think you're better than the whole.

"What Joe has, in those guys, are people who understand the total picture."

So, now other teams appear to have a problem. It's a league of copycats. When the Redskins won with counter-trey, everybody else was running it the next season. When the Bears won with eight-man defensive fronts, everybody tried that. "If there's something we can steal," Gibbs cracked, "we'll steal it. We have no pride."

That's all fine and well if we're talking about tactics, but what can competitors do when the secret to your success is personality? As Theismann said, it would be simple if you could draft a young Monk or Bostic or Grimm. In fact, all of them, then hope they stay healthy for a decade. You can't copy that, right?

Leave it to NFL coaches to try. Detroit's Wayne Fontes is eager to pick up whatever he can from a team that he lost to twice by a total of 86-10. Fontes knows it's the who, not the what. Already, he's created a club of players called The Committee, which meets with him every 10 to 14 days to express any and all player concerns.

He hopes, ultimately, The Committee can help him run the club as responsibly, as efficiently and, of course, as successfully as the firm of Monk, Coleman, Warren, Green, Mann, Bostic, Grimm & Jacoby has supported Gibbs.

It would be impossible to pay anyone higher honor.

Washington Post
April 8, 1994
Between Loot and Loyalty Comes the Bottom Line
Michael Wilbon

Let's get this straight: The Washington Redskins didn't cut Art Monk. They didn't tell him to take a hike, they didn't tell him his services were no longer needed. The Redskins didn't do Art Monk wrong. He left. Art Monk walked. The Redskins didn't get rid of Art Monk, he got rid of them.

Being a union employee, the son of two union workers, I am loath to take a management position in virtually anything. But I draw the line at a $ 600,000 salary in the twilight of a career being called an insult. Monk's agent, Richard Bennett, told The Post's David Aldridge, "I just couldn't believe that they would force Art to play for $ 600,000 or run him out of town. … Art could not prostrate himself and accept the Redskins' offer made by threat."

Don't get me wrong. I would take Monk over any receiver in his generation except Jerry Rice. But I wish to heaven somebody would "threaten" me with $ 600,000. Put the gun to my head and I'll show you how quickly I'll prostrate myself for a half-million bucks. It reminds you, once again, how out of touch too many professional athletes and their agents are with reality. Reality for the poor jerk who makes $ 35,000 a year is having to pay $ 70 for two Redskins tickets, only to hear a guy who's made $ 1 million a year or more for half his career whine about making $ 600,000 to hear cheers wash over him for the final 16 weeks of his career. The only thing sillier than Bennett's position is those calls from secretaries and firemen and teachers who make one-thirtieth of Monk's salary phoning the talk shows to cry over Poor Art who was treated so shabbily and shown no loyalty.

There's no such thing as loyalty, not when money is at stake, for either side. If loyalty was an issue, then doesn't Monk owe it to the fans who have revered him for 14 years to finish his career here? What's the most Monk can get to play one season elsewhere? Let's say, kindly, $ 800,000. That's if he's lucky. So for somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 200,000 he'd finish his career in Cleveland? In Tampa? The possibility exists he might not get a nibble. Last year Monk was an unrestricted free agent for 4 1/2 months, and no team made an offer. This year, he's been an unrestricted free agent for two months and no team has made an offer. So for a total of more than six months, somebody could have offered Monk $ 1 million a year. Except nobody has.

Monk, by his actions, is betting somebody else is going to pay him more money. That's not an act of loyalty, it's a business decision. And I don't begrudge him a penny. My philosophy is that any worker, no matter the venue, should try to get as much dough as he can before management slams the door in his face. If Monk can get $ 1 million from somebody, he ought to do it. I damn sure would. (In fact, what's to say Monk won't ultimately sign with the Redskins in four months if, say, a receiver gets hurt.) But don't give me all this garbage about hurt feelings and loyalty.

Like every other player and agent, Monk and Bennett know this is the new order of the NFL. There's a certain amount of money, because of the salary cap, and teams have to decide how to spend it. The Redskins players, no matter how legitimate their complaints sound now, voted in favor of this system. The day it was implemented everybody who could read knew veteran players were going to take pay cuts and risk losing their jobs to younger players. A team like the Redskins, built around responsible, no-nonsense workaholic veterans like Monk, would be hurt most. Monk isn't the only veteran who was asked to take a pay cut or risk not being offered a contract at all. It's happening throughout the league. Warren Moon, the Oilers' signature player for a decade, is facing the same dilemma. The Bears just yesterday waved bye-bye to Steve McMichael, one of the best defensive linemen in their history. Monk's episode isn't the end for the Redskins. There are starters who will have to take a pay cut — or get out — by the beginning of the season. This system wasn't forced on the players, they voted it in, lobbied on behalf of it, signed their names to it. If the Redskins players thought it was wrong, they should have stuck to their guns and made the vote 27-1.

But it's no surprise his teammates and ex-teammates have reacted as they have. It's probably not possible to have had a better teammate than Art Monk. We know he was a great player by looking at the games, the catches and blocks he made, by studying the season and career statistics. But we know Monk was beyond even greatness because of the way his coaches/teammates adored him and opponents respected him. It comes as no surprise that a city feels blue over the apparent departure of a player who has served a team and a community this well for 14 years.

The difficult thing about transition in business is that everybody gets swept up in it. Who's left? Darrell Green and Monte Coleman? If Joe Gibbs was still coach, he'd have gone to the mat for Monk to stay one more year, at whatever salary necessary to keep him. But Gibbs isn't the coach. Norv Turner's only mandate is to win. Monk, to him, isn't a cornerstone, he's a receiver. Turner and his staff have to see a 36-year-old guy who can no longer separate himself from D-backs, whose skills certainly won't improve.

The sad thing, of course, is that if Monk is to break more records he might have to do it in another uniform. You'd obviously rather not see him like Franco Harris, playing out the string in Seattle or some city where people don't have the emotional investment, the attachment and the appreciation only Washington has for Monk. Perhaps this wouldn't be happening if the Redskins didn't have $ 400,000 committed to a pro-rated signing bonus for Carl Banks, a constant reminder of a colossal personnel blunder a year ago. If not for those bonuses, the Redskins might be able to keep not only Monk, but also Earnest Byner. This, however, is what every team gets in the era of free agency.

What's bothersome about Redskins management, specifically, is how rarely relationships with the team's great players end happily, from Ken Houston, to Riggo to Theismann to Doug Williams. The one exception was Jeff Bostic, all smiles and endearing war stories the recent afternoon he announced his retirement. That's what everybody who ever cared about Art Monk wanted, a bow in the sun, his jersey retired, all his catches and touchdowns and yardage belonging, faithfully, to one team. It's dreamy, but it doesn't carry the dollar sign.

Washington Post
December 11, 1994
Monk's Career Plays Like a Broken Record
Michael Wilbon

Don't get me wrong, doing anything for 178 consecutive games is accomplishment enough in the National Football League. But the record for consecutive games with a reception is a completely inadequate way to measure Art Monk's extraordinary career.

It doesn't exactly measure durability, because you can miss games and still keep the streak intact. It doesn't really measure consistency and contribution, because you can catch one pass in every game of a season and still have the grand total of 16. It doesn't exactly guarantee immortality because three people have held the record in the last 14 years and two more will likely hold it and pass it on before long. It's a nice milestone, a B record, not like Jim Brown's five straight rushing titles or Walter Payton's 16,000-plus career rushing yards. And a B record is no way to measure an A-plus player such as Monk, a man who will certainly be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection.

If you insist on using numbers to assess Monk's career, look at his 932 career receptions, which also represent an NFL record and put Monk more than 100 catches ahead of Steve Largent, who's second. Or his 106 catches, seven for touchdowns, in 1984. Or his 91 catches the next year. Or his 86 catches, eight for touchdowns, at 32 years old in 1989. Or his 71 catches, eight more for touchdowns, in the 1991 Super Bowl season at the age of 34. Those are numbers that reflect Monk's durability, consistency, productivity, longevity and uniqueness.

So often, players pile up great numbers not only because of incomparable talent, but because their teams stink. See early Walter Payton. See O.J. Simpson's entire career. See Barry Sanders, see Sterling Sharpe. That's not the case with Monk. No great receiver had to share time and balls with as many good or great receivers and runners. (Okay, Jerry Rice.) But Monk shared the wealth with The Fun Bunch and The Posse, with third-down specialists Joe Washington and Kelvin Bryant, with H-backs and multiple tight ends, sometimes for a team that would run Riggo eight straight times without even thinking pass. One thing I'll promise you is that Rice never had to play the role of set-up man, which Monk did for Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders, who went deep and got the glamour catches in the Rypien years. You can remember 178 if you want, I'll remember third-and-seven with safeties lurking. You know how many players are the go-to-guy for 10 years? You know how strong and healthy and alert and talented and disciplined and focused and respected and trustworthy and coachable you have to be to be a team's go-to-man in football for that long? Get real. The road to the Pro Bowl is paved with guys who do it once or twice and flame out.

The best thing about Monk's 178th consecutive game with a reception on Saturday was that the aftermath was so predictably Monk. The game stopped for about two seconds, Monk smiled (I think), the eclipsed Largent waved, Monk ran off the field and play continued. That was it. No fanfare, no speeches, no presentations, no family trotting out for a bow, no glorious ceremony. Some people entertain; Art Monk makes his living as a football player.

It is fitting that Monk would break this latest record in the NFL's "Throwback" season because Monk himself is a throwback to a time when players handed the ball to the official after scoring a touchdown, to a time when you judged players solely on what they did on game day.

If you think athletes ought to be role models, then Monk's the guy, the genuine article. No scandal, no gossip. The guy is about his family, his team, he is civic-minded beyond reason in the metropolitan area that adores him, an old-fashioned hero when you think about it. He sponsors enough scholarships and programs for a small company. The more you see the Andre Risons of the world, the more you bemoan what will be the sooner-than-later retirement of Art Monk.

Saturday surely saw a lot of hand-wringing over the fact that Monk broke the record as a New York Jet, not as a Redskin. Joe Gibbs, for one, can hardly believe his own eyes when he sees, "Art Monk … in green!" Absolutely, Monk's pursuit of the record here in Washington could have made the 2-11 season bearable if not meaningful.

But Monk is a grown man who made the business decision to turn down $ 600,000 because he didn't think the Redskins were making a fair offer. Maybe both sides needed a season or so away from each other to appreciate the previous 14 years. Monk has spoken openly and frequently about how he wishes he could have broken the record at RFK. Jack Kent Cooke indicated to The Post's David Aldridge the other day that he'd be receptive to re-signing Monk at the very end so that he could retire as a Redskin, the same way 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo brought Roger Craig back to San Francisco after a late-career departure to Minnesota. It would be a wonderfully symbolic gesture of behalf of the Redskins, and hopefully it would help heal any wounds that might have been opened during last summer's difficult contract haggling.

In fact, Monk wearing a Redskins jersey once more would be a much better highlight than that short pass on the first play of the Jets-Lions game Saturday. The record recently held by Harold Carmichael and Largent, soon to be passed on, probably to Rice and then Sharpe, isn't nearly as significant as celebrating a career that will be associated with one team long after the record is broken again.

Washington Post
December 23, 1996
RFK History Is the Best Teacher
Michael Wilbon

As the old-timers trotted out from the dugout, from Bobby Mitchell to Ron McDole to Sonny to Riggo to Brig Owens to Doug Williams, it struck Brian Mitchell like a bolt of lightning: Most of the current Redskins don't even know who all these old geezers are. They don't know, for instance, that John Riggins would climb out of traction in Sibley Hospital on Saturday and run right through you for 100 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. The youngsters don't know that Art Monk's offseason workouts were harder than their game days. Or that Larry Brown was the most reckless, fearless, die-for-one-yard runner who ever lived. Or that Gary Clark would run a pass route across the middle against an oncoming Mack truck. Pat Fischer would find spring his legs didn't have to bat balls away from 6-foot-8 Harold Carmichael. Or that Sonny Jurgensen would study the game with such passion and such great detail he'd come to know the playbook — yours and his — better than any coach.

Brian Mitchell looked at the old geezers and said a private thanks. "Seeing those guys trot out there might be exactly what the young guys on this team need," he said. "To see the guys who made this franchise what it is has to affect them. You want to find out more, to look into it. The more they learn the more they'll understand what they have to do to be successful here.

"Look, I came in here seven years ago while all this was going on. I was fortunate enough to play with some of those guys. I know about the Hogs and the Posse [who played years before Mitchell arrived]. If you know what they were all about, you can't just say, 'Well, I played my hardest,' even when you lose. You have to work and sacrifice to live up to the standards they set. Monte Coleman and Don Warren, they made me come in and work as hard as I did. When I was a rookie, I'd watch Art Monk and say, 'If this guy works this hard, I'd better get myself up and do an extra set, too.' Earnest Byner was my workout partner and I thought he was going to kill me.

"The new guys here, they want to get the same attitude those guys had. I almost said it to somebody when they were going out there: 'I'm gonna be one of those guys.' "

Washington Post
January 27, 2001
Art Critics Agree, Monk Is a Masterpiece
Michael Wilbon

Every year, usually beginning in the spring, literature arrives at my office trumpeting the virtues of candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I don't recall getting a single leaflet or fax or handout lobbying for Art Monk, who is up for election this morning. And it's perfectly appropriate that there's no campaign for Monk, considering he never lobbied for himself and spoke only when it was necessary — and sometimes not even then.

There was nothing slick about Monk's 16-year career at wide receiver, the meaningful 14 years all coming with the Washington Redskins. The men voting on his worthiness will have to find Hall of Fame value in the subtleties of great route running, study, preparation. His candidacy, like his understated career, has none of the sizzle of Bill Parcells's or Lynn Swann's. And in considering Monk, we voters will have to eschew the highlight-reel mentality that seems to have all but taken over our perceptions of what constitutes all-time greatness.

"To fully appreciate Art Monk, you have to realize his game wasn't speed, and his game wasn't power, it was brains," said Matt Millen, the former linebacker, former TV analyst and newly hired boss of the Detroit Lions. "He had enough speed, and he had enough power. But most of all he had a cerebral game. He had it all figured out, if you go that way, I'll get open over here. To be able to do that you've got to know your quarterback, your scheme, and their scheme. He was the Cris Carter of his day without the show."

It's a recurring theme when you mention Monk's name to current or former players. "Consummate pro" is what you get back in a game of word association. No one can recall him dramatically signaling first down, dancing or posing or so much as spiking the ball. Monk's retirement seems to have signaled the beginning of excess.

To deal with Monk's statistics (224 games, 940 receptions, 12,721 yards, 68 touchdowns) in the discussion of his candidacy almost leads you to miss the point. Within five years, almost all of his numbers will be dwarfed by a half-dozen or more receivers. Robert Bailey, the Baltimore Ravens' veteran cornerback who played against Monk, said, "I don't associate Art Monk with numbers. He was a very, very intelligent guy. He played the game with intelligence. And he worked. When he retired, he stayed in shape, was still running hills. He was the consummate pro.

"He was a real quiet guy. Everybody on both teams loved him. And no trash talking. He was a quiet man who just did his job. Is there anybody playing today who reminds me of Art? Yeah, Irving Fryar. Art was a real nice guy who ran great routes, who everybody loved. He was one of those guys you wished well and hoped he stayed healthy. Everybody hopes guys like that last a long time in the league."

If anything about Monk amazed us, it's how he did what he did. "You wind up asking yourself, 'How did he get so open?' " Millen said. "In putting together the game plan, you said, 'We've got to take away Art Monk.' He might have only four catches, but three of them were on critical third downs. That's why his numbers don't tell the story, it's when you make the catches."

Tom Jackson, the former Broncos linebacker and ESPN analyst, takes it one step further. "Joe Gibbs was a firm believer in max protect. He always protected the quarterback first. That often meant an extra tight end or a second back staying back to block. So much of what Art Monk did came on one- or two-receiver routes. You send four guys out, it's easier to get open. One guy, two guys, it's very difficult. But still, Art always got open. . . . And he played on teams that ran as much if not more than they passed."

So is he a lock for immediate enshrinement? Nope. The 2001 class isn't going to be star-studded like the 2000 class with Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott. There's no lightning-rod case, like that of Lawrence Taylor the year before. But there are plenty of worthy candidates, including Jackie Slater and his 20 seasons with the Rams; his teammate, defensive end Jack Youngblood, who was all-pro five times and played two postseason games in 1979 with a broken leg; Coach Bill Parcells, who led teams to three Super Bowls and won two; and again Swann, the receiver many NFL players think is in the Hall of Fame already but is not.

And it's not like Harry Carson, Dave Casper, Dan Hampton, Mike Munchak, John Stallworth, Ron Yary, Ralph Wilson Jr., Marv Levy, Nick Buoniconti, Lester Hayes don't have credentials. Personally, there's not a receiver eligible today that I would vote ahead of Swann, who in seven fewer seasons was all-pro more times (three to Monk's two), went to as many Pro Bowls (three each) and was a contributing member to more championship teams (four to Monk's three). In 109 fewer games, (224 for Monk to 115 for Swann), Swann caught 15 fewer touchdown passes (53).

But there I go again, using numbers to build cases. It's something Hall of Fame selectors have to resist because players of different eras played with slightly different rules, at times that featured different styles of play. Soon, men such as Andre Rison will retire with more catches, more yards, and more touchdowns. But they will have played in four-receiver sets with quarterbacks who threw the ball 50 times per game instead of 20, in specialized roles that didn't call for the kind of completeness that marked Monk's distinguished career and will sooner or later land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Washington Post
February 2, 2002
Trim the Coaching Commentary, Please
Michael Wilbon

We've been stuck on the topic of coaches this NFL season: who's a genius, who's getting fired, who's going where, who's making how much. Surely you didn't expect Super Bowl week to be any different, even as we come to the final two days of the season.

Hall of Fame Saturday, like everything else, is being held hostage by coaches. The late great George Allen is up for vote, as is Bill Parcells, whose retirement status could decide whether he is elected now or later. They are the headliners, not Art Monk and John Stallworth.

January 21, 2005
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Hagerstown, Md.: Does Peter King and Dr. Z have a personal vendetta against Art Monk because he did not play the "media game" as a player? Have you considered lining up 8 other HOF voters, vote no on the 14 other candidates as a group, and filibuster the selection meeting until Monk is voted in?

Michael Wilbon: I've known Peter for a long, long, long time…my whole career, in fact. We came into together and have been pretty close for 25 years. That's more than half our lives…I've known Dr. Z. and admired his work but from afar…Though we sit in the same press boxes and the same Hall of Fame room on Super Bowl Saturday, I don't know him well at all…I'm saying all that to say this: I don't believe those guys carry that kind of agenda when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. I disagree with anybody who believes Art Monk does not belong in the Hall of Fame. In that room, I disagree loudly and passionately…not just on the Monk issue but on a lot of things. That's the nature of sports, and particularly the nature of Hall of Fame debate. But vendetta? I don't believe it…and I certainly hope not. Those guys are pros' pros and they care about the game too much to undermine the process.

Burtonsville, Md.: Do you think that it is easier to get into the Football Hall of Fame than Baseball. Who do you think deserves to be in the Football Hall of Fame that isn't in?

Michael Wilbon: I don't know how the baseball situation works…But we don't have enough time to talk about all the football players I think should be in…Art Monk, for those of you who are local, is one of the guys I think should be in…

August 1, 2005
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Burtonsville, Md.: Do you think that it is easier to get into the Football Hall of Fame than Baseball. Who do you think deserves to be in the Football Hall of Fame that isn't in?

Michael Wilbon: I don't know how the baseball situation works…But we don't have enough time to talk about all the football players I think should be in…Art Monk, for those of you who are local, is one of the guys I think should be in…

August 15, 2005
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

College Park, Md.: As another Hall of Fame induction has come and gone without Art Monk taking his rightful place among the immortals in Canton, when (if at all) do you think football's most glaring omission will recieve his do? Also, with his excellent credentials and immense talent, why do you think he has been left out thus far? I cannot find one significant hole in his resume. What do you think?

Michael Wilbon: I don't know that it's the most glaring omission, but I agree Monk belongs. For that matter, I'm a Hall of Fame selector who helps Len Shapiro of The Washington Post nominate Monk every year. I believe in his worthiness. Shapiro does, too. And it irks me that others in that room don't believe what I believe…I don't know when he'll be voted in, or even if he'll be voted in…I hope so, but I don't know it.

January 17, 2006
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Dover, Del.: Hi Mike,

Do you think the Hall of Fame voters will finally vote Art Monk into the Hall?


Michael Wilbon: This year? No, I don't. Not with Aikman and Madden and Reggie White…I'm one of the guys (after Leonard Shapiro of The Post) who presents the case FOR Monk…And I'm damn annoyed Monk isn't in already…But that doesn't change the fact that not enough voters in the room agree with me. Also, Michael Irvin is still on the ballot. So is Harry Carson, who I believe belongs in. So is Richard Dent, who I believe belongs in…It's going to be a contentious debate…I can just feel it.

January 23, 2006
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Chicago, Ill.: Michael, I'm a big fan!

Do you see the 'Skins using free agency or the draft to address their need for a Art Monk type possesion receiver to compliment Santana Moss?

Michael Wilbon: Hush your mouth! You call the great Art Monk a "posession receiver?" Talk about damning somebody with faint praise! C'mon. Monk ought to be in the Hall of Fame. You sound like some of my colleagues who don't think Monk belongs. Anyway, as to your question, I think they're going to have to do it through the draft. I thought Reggie Wayne of the Colts might leave via free agency, but apparently not…So perhaps they'll get somebody in this year's draft to groom and coach up.

January 30, 2006
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Chicago, Ill.: Hey Michael, Is it just me or is it mind-boggling how Art Monk is not in the Hall of Fame yet, not to mention that there is no way Michael Irving should be inducted before Monk…and I'm not just saying that because I hate the Cowboys. The man led the league in receptions when he retired and won three Superbowls…and yet people still don't give him the credit he deserves!! What is wrong with this picture???

Michael Wilbon: Until the voters in the room feel the way you do, he's not getting in. Look, I'm one of the people who presents the case FOR Art Monk to be in the Hall of Fame, so you're not even preaching to the choir, you're preaching to the PREACHER…But not enough people believe as we do, and while I hope he goes in this year, I really doubt it will happen given the people who will likely be voted in ahead of him this year (Reggie White, Troy Aikman, John Madden). Harry Carson also belongs. So does Richard Dent…So do three or four old Cowboys players…It's a difficult thing…

Monday, February 6, 2006
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

NY, NY: Mike,

RE: the Art Monk HOF question, Don Banks of SI mentioned that Dan Snyder's comments after the vote would only hurt Monk's candidacy.

Michael Wilbon: I don't care what anybody said. Monk didn't get in before whatever Snyder said, which I'm not even aware of. Snyder is of no consequence in the discussions in that room. I'm in the damn room and I have a good idea on why Monk isn't in. Half the people in the room consider Gary Clark a better receiver and don't think Monk was even the best receiver on the team. I strongly, passionately disagree with that. Monk and Michael Irvin, who should both be in, are pretty much the same guy when you look at the numbers and the results. But it's one man, one vote.

Washington, D.C.: What are the factors keeping Monk out of the HOF? This is getting to be ridiculous. Peter King doesn't know a football from a baseball and is keeping a true great out of the Hall.

If the factors can't be overcome, why the charade every year?

Michael Wilbon: Your statement that my friend Peter King of Sports Illustrated doesn't know football is, well stuipid and ill-informed. I disagree with Peter on this issue. But it's a disagreement, and that's it. I just answered a question detailing the factors. And Peter King has one vote. So clearly there are others very much with him among the 39 men in the room.

Vienna, Va.: I know you field HOF questions frequently and here's another angle: I see real parallels with Art Monk's denial to Canton and Jim Rice's denial to Cooperstown. They seem to be similar athletes in terms of production (workhorses, un-flashy, excellent stats) and in terms of demeanor (quiet/taciturn, lead by example, etc.). Comments?

Michael Wilbon: I'm with you to a point. I think they're overt refusal to cooperate with the same media people that vote in Hall of Fame matters hurts them tremendously. Should it? No. Look, I have had social conversations with Monk, but NEVER talked to him for a story. Never. We've lived in the same town for 25 years and I've never talked to the guy with a notebook or a tape recorder. I don't talk to him now. I talk to Joe Gibbs about him, Russ Grim, Riggins, Sonny, Theismann, Parcells, Belichick…I've talked to Everson Walls about Monk, to Ronnie Lott…But Art Monk is invisible when it comes to dealing with media…So he ran the risk and so far is losing. Personally, I don't care if I ever talk to Monk about football or about his candidacy. He's deserving. He's over-the-top deserving. It's a no-brainer to me. But I suspect, though I've never heard it come out of anybody's mouth, that there are writers who whether they admit it to themselves or not hold it against Monk that he made it difficult for them to do their jobs.

Washington, D.C.: What do you think of Harry Carson's suggestion of only past NFL players and HOF inductees voting for who gets in the HOF? Personally I totally agree with him.

Michael Wilbon: Well, HOF inductees don't agree with Carson. I've talked to 25 of them, maybe more. Most don't want to do it. In fact, I don't think I've talked to a single one who wants to do it. Sat with two HOF inductees Saturday afternoon, one a Redskin and one a Cowboy, and both said, no way. They know how difficult it is. Again, I think Monk belongs. But Monk doesn't belong in one bit more than the guys who were selected Saturday. Of those 15 men, all belong, in my opinion. And of that 15, 13 of 14 might make it in…but they can't all make it at once. Only six could make it Saturday. It's the HOF, dude…it's supposed to be hard. If it was easy, nobody would give a damn.

Monday, March 13, 2006
The Chat House
Michael Wilbon

Bethesda, Md.: Okay, I know it's a Selection Sunday Chat House, so if this question doesn't get answered I understand.

Boz mentioned in his Friday chat the Post has a new policy on Hall of Fame voting for Post staff members. Does this mean you participated in your last Football Hall of Fame selection, and what happens to Art Monk's candidacy now?

Michael Wilbon: I didn't know Boz mentioned that. Nobody has told me about it, though I've heard whispers…Maybe it's time for me to become a part-time player, so I can keep my vote. More likely, I'm fine giving up my vote because I have issues with the process and I'm not enjoying the experience as much as I used to, or as much as I should. It's a very, very, very important endeavor, and I'm proud to have done it for 10 years and thankful that Paul Tagliabue asked me to do it when he did.

May 12, 2006

Len Pasquarelli

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 10:21 am

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Len Pasquarelli is "Definitely No," so with 38 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

6 No; 17 Yes; 15 Unknown/Maybe

Len Pasquarelli is well-known for his inside sources around the NFL.  However, ever since he missed the scoop on Joe Gibbs' return, he has developed a reputation among fans as a Redskin hater, and he has said on TV that Art Monk is not a Hall of Famer.  Unlike the other voters against Monk though, he hasn't written any columns explaining his rationale or offering any real explanation, so it is difficult to assess his state of mind.  When he wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the 80's and early 90's, he actually reported very favorably on Monk, calling him a future Hall of Famer several times:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 10, 1991
U'-word is taboo for 9-0 Redskins; That's as in unbeaten' . . . something the NFL hasn't seen since 1972
Len Pasquarelli

In a league where some observers rate the overall talent level the lowest in two decades, where perennial powerhouses like the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers have fallen on hard times, that just may be enough to catapult Washington into its fourth Super Bowl appearance in 10 years.

Not that the Redskins are without talent. Quarterback Mark Rypien's season-long streak of late-career consistency has enhanced the team's "Posse" trio of receivers, consisting of fire (the explosive Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders) and ice (the cool Art Monk, No. 2 all-time pass- catcher). There are three running backs – including future star Ricky Ervins – who have all run Gibbs's trademark "counter-trey" play enough to have more than 200 yards each. The latter-day "Hogs" offensive line is staunch.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 24, 1992
Skins' single-minded Gibbs no ordinary Joe
Len Pasquarelli

Minneapolis – First, for those who believe Joe Gibbs's only real passions are coaching the Washington Redskins, managing a fledgling NASCAR team, memorizing Bible passages and keeping careful tabs on his wife's spending habits at the Super Bowl, a revelation:

"Despite the public perceptions that he's strictly one-dimensional," said Redskins passing-game coach Rod Dowhower, "the guy has a ton of outside interests. He'll disappear for three or four days at a time during the offseason, just to get away from it. The thing about Joe is, he can get himself totally focused – and I mean totally – on whatever aspect of his life he's dealing with at the present time.

"Just ask him about his racquetball game sometime if you want to get him going on a subject."

Racquetball? Why not?

In 1976, Gibbs, then the running backs coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, won the 35-and-older national racquetball championship. The following year, he was national runner-up.

Nearly 15 years after he stopped playing seriously, Gibbs admits he still occasionally wakes at 3 a.m. in his in-season bed – the sofa in his office, where he normally crashes at least three nights a week. He'll shake out the cobwebs with a couple of sit-ups, climb down into the antiquated court at Redskins Park and smack a few shots off the wall.

Then, his angst released at least for a few hours, he usually pulls out a videocassette and starts fine-tuning the week's game plan.

"The last time I played racquetball against the only guy I can beat anymore, which is me, I think I pulled just about every muscle in my body," said Gibbs, 51, as he prepared his Redskins to meet the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's Super Bowl. "I still like to play, because it helps relieve the tension. But I get the impression my body's trying to tell me it's time to just be a spectator."

In football terms, he has been just that for the past 19 seasons – an unaffected witness to the NFL's ever-changing landscape. Philosophies, methods and strategies come and go, but Gibbs stays the only course he has ever known, holed up in his office/bunker in Herndon, Va., and adhering to the kind of relentless work ethic that has driven some of his coaching colleagues out of the game.

Along the way, Gibbs, in his 11th season in Washington, has managed to become the league's most consistent coach. He has won four conference championships and can become only the third coach to claim three Super Bowl titles.

His career record, 129-57, including 14-4 in the postseason, makes him the league's No. 2 active coach in terms of winning percentage, behind San Francisco's George Seifert. Of course, Seifert has compiled his .792 percentage in only three seasons; Gibbs has achieved his .693 mark in 11. With Chuck Noll having retired from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gibbs ranks second only to Miami's Don Shula among active head coaches in longevity with one club. Shula has 11 years on him, having begun with the Dolphins in 1970.

Clearly, Gibbs is no ordinary Joe.

Gibbs's entry into the NFL in 1973 came courtesy of Don Coryell, his old college coach at San Diego State. Gibbs, who had been a college assistant at San Diego State, Florida State, Southern Cal and Arkansas, accepted a job on Coryell's St. Louis Cardinals staff, figuring he'd stay only until an attractive college head coaching job opened up. Almost two decades later, he's still hanging around the NFL.

But not for much longer, he hinted this week.

"Tom Landry, Chuck Noll and Don Shula are still the guys you certainly look up to, and I'm not on the same layer as them," he said. "You look in their faces and they have a hardness that's different from me, I think. They're in it for the long haul. Me, maybe I'll have to be dragged away from it, because I still enjoy what I'm doing quite a bit.  But if I'm here for 25 years, take me over to a goalpost and hang me from it. I still wake up every day thinking of myself as a short-timer in this game. I guess that mindset lends a certain sense of urgency to what I do."

Examples of Gibbs's in-season single-mindedness – "I prefer absent- mindedness," said his wife, Pat – are legendary. Gibbs's reading is limited to the Bible and the sports pages. He rarely attends a movie or the theater. For several years, Pat would make him audio tapes, detailing his sons' daily activities, so that he could keep up with the home-front goings-on. He listened to them in his car on the way to and from work.

In October, Gibbs was uncertain which two teams were playing in the World Series. He recently asked one of his assistants about "that JFK movie, the one that Oliver North actually Oliver Stone produced." Several times, he has pulled into the wrong driveway and almost walked into the wrong living room.

On New Year's Eve, preparing for his team's NFC semifinal game against the Atlanta Falcons, he called Pat at their home in Virginia, told her to wish his two college-age sons well and returned to work.

"Actually," said offensive line coach Jim Hanifan, "he was so out of it, he kissed me on the lips, said, Happy New Year, Pat,' and then suddenly came to his senses and said, Whoa. OK, let's get back to work guys.'

"Nah, I'm only kidding, but, hey, it could have happened. You know how Joe can get immersed in stuff."

Said Gibbs: "When I come home after six months and start telling Pat, We need to do this and do that,' she'll say, Joe, shut up. You're not in charge here.' You know, there are some negatives to a season that stretches to the Super Bowl. But Pat and me and the boys, we still have a strong relationship."

Somehow, Gibbs has found time to maintain stable relationships in every facet of his life, even while working his way to the top of his profession.

One of his strengths is his ability to find top people for his staff, and to keep them happy. His NFL-high 14 assistants – the norm is closer to 10 – comprise one of the finest staffs ever assembled, and are fiercely loyal. They appreciate his willingness to delegate authority as well as responsibility. "He's responsible for the output, but he gives all the rest of us plenty of input," said Richie Petitbon, Gibb's assistant head coach/defense. "This isn't a one-voice operation. Joe allows his coaches to coach." Because few of his aides ever leave the Redskins, the club has a continuity rarely seen in professional sports.

Another factor in Gibbs's success is the respect and compassion he has demonstrated toward his players.

"A coach is supposed to be above his players, but he shows enough respect to come to your level when he's talking to you," said defensive end Charles Mann. "I mean, when Joe walks into the locker room, it's not like we have to stop talking or whisper."

Said wide receiver Art Monk: "Joe's mellowed over the years, and nobody feels intimidated by him. He's still high-energy in his own way, but the older he gets, the calmer he gets. He's the kind of guy you could play for forever."

Which, of course, won't happen. The older Gibbs gets, the more likely it becomes that his major sports involvement will be with stock car racing, not the NFL.

"One of the thrills of my life," he noted, "will come next month when they go into the first turn at Daytona, and my car's running."

The Joe Gibbs Racing team, sponsored by Interstate Battery, will consist of Chevys driven by Dale Jarrett.

Gibbs acquired his love of fast cars during his boyhood in the heart of NASCAR country – he used to go with his father, the sheriff of Mocksville, N.C., on late-night raids to catch moonshiners – and his teenage years in California amid "hot rods and hamburger joints."

He does not see himself pacing the sidelines at age 60.

"I know when it's time to walk away," he said.

And then?

"And then I guess I'll work about 10 years to get my racquetball  game back in shape and go out and try to win the 65-and-over championship."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 12, 1992
All-time receptions record within Monk's reach
Len Pasquarelli

Even against the Atlanta Falcons' struggling secondary, Art Monk doesn't figure to have any chance of breaking Steve Largent's record for most career receptions Sunday in Washington.

After all, during his celebrated 13-year career with the Redskins, the cagey veteran has never caught more than 13 passes in a game. And Largent's 819 catches is still 16 more than Monk has accomplished.

Still, nothing about his performance surprises Monk's teammates anymore. A fellow receiver, in fact, will bring to the game a small memento he plans to award Monk when the record is broken.

"The thing about Art," Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien says, "is that he's almost as quiet on the field as he is off it. You can play the game and be thinking, 'Geez, we haven't gotten the ball to him much today.' But then you look at the stat sheet afterwards and he's got his usual six or seven catches.

"He just sort of sneaks up on you, I guess."

The publicity-shy Monk, 34, has crept up on the record with little hoopla. This summer, cognizant of the place he is about to soon occupy in league history, he has granted the media a bit more of his time.

But not much more.

The son of a welder and a part-time domestic worker, Monk grew up in White Plains, N.Y., learning not only the lessons of discipline but of humility. His favorite subject matter: Anything but Art Monk.

"I'd rather just go out and do something than have to talk about doing it, or how I did it, or how I planned to do it," said Monk. "Sure, I'm excited about the record. But the most enjoyable thing is just getting open and catching the ball."

How Monk does it is simply explained. At 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, he uses his size and fluid yet subtle movements, rather than speed, to break free.

Although he still works hours each week on "the Redskin drill" – a regimen in which the receivers run downfield time after time, hauling in long passes – Monk's success over the last half of his career has come on the fairly pedestrian pattern called "Dodge." He goes 5 to 7 yards off the line, looking for a seam in the secondary.

The "Dodge" may be a large part of the Redskins' game plan Sunday. Coming off an embarrassing 23-10 loss at Dallas, coach Joe Gibbs is stressing fundamentals this week.

Said flamboyant wide receiver Gary Clark, the antithesis of Monk: "We're back to the basics, and that always includes getting the ball to Art."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 11, 1994
INSIDE THE NFL; Enforcing 5-yard rule helps bump up scoring
Len Pasquarelli

In an effort to increase scoring for his moribund league, commissioner Paul Tagliabue, ably assisted by competition committee co- chairmen Don Shula and George Young, ramrodded through a package of rules changes at the NFL owners' meetings in March. Turns out, though, that the rule that figures to have the most effect has been on the books since 1978.

That's the year the league implemented the so-called "Isaac Curtis rule," whi ch prohibits defensive backs from making contact with receivers beyond five yards downfield. But for years, officials generally ignored the rule. And their reluctance to enforce it helped spur the return of the "bigger" cornerback – more physical players like Larry Brown (Dallas), Tom Carter (Washington), Cris Dishman (Houston), James Hasty (N.Y. Jets), Reggie Jones (New Orleans), Todd Lyght (L.A. Rams), Robert Massey (Detroit), Troy Vincent (Miami), Lionel Washington (L.A. Raiders) and Rod Woodson (Pittsburgh).

This year, however, director of officiating Jerry Seeman decided to re-emphasize the rule. And, though coaches say the enforcement is still uneven, the results of Seeman's efforts were obvious last weekend.

"It's like we're handcuffed with no contact after five yards," said Miami cornerback J.B. Brown. Added Denver defensive coordinator Charlie Waters: "You can hardly touch a guy. It's pretty easy for them to get open."

How easy? Consider:

With receivers running unchecked through secondaries at times, seven quarterbacks had 300-yard performances, more than in any single week of the 1993 season. Two quarterbacks – Miami's Dan Marino and New England's Drew Bledsoe – each threw for over 400 yards in the same game, and their combined 874 yards was the third-best total in league history. Six quarterbacks had three or more touchdown passes. The aggregate quarterback rating for the league last week was 85.0. For the '93 season, it was 76.4.

Some per-game totals for last weekend, and, in parentheses, how they compared to the first weekend of play last year: 46.6 points (37.4), 5.6 touchdowns (4.5), 445.4 net passing yards (401.8), 154.1 offensive snaps (150.8).

"It's only one weekend, but it's also a sign of things to come," said former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson. "It's going to put greater urgency than ever on finding the pure cover cornerback in the draft every year."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 9, 1995
INSIDE THE NFL; Falcons not alone in soph dependence
Len Pasquarelli

New York Jets WR Ryan Yarborough: He's a guy who had six catches in his debut season being projected to replace future Hall of Famer Art Monk.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
July 30, 1995
Mathis' mission: Show '94 no fluke; Breakthrough: Last season saw receiver post numbers among the elite; detractors need encore to believe in it
Len Pasquarelli

Still, despite a breakthrough season in which he became only the eighth player in the NFL's 75-year history to register 100 or more catches – his name forever linked with those of future Hall of Famers like Art Monk, Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe – the knocks just keep on coming for Terance Mathis.

No…..Player……….. Team……..Yr.
122….Cris Carter……..Vikings… '94
112….Jerry Rice……. 49ers….. '94
112….Sterling Sharpe….Packers… '93
111….Terance Mathis… Falcons… '94
108….Sterling Sharpe….Packers… '92
106….Art Monk……… Redskins….'84
101….Charley Hennigan.. (a)Oilers.. '64
100….Haywood Jeffires.. Oilers……'91
100….Jerry Rice……. 49ers….. '90
100….Lionel Taylor……(a)Broncos..'61

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 3, 1995
INSIDE THE NFL; Winning's not easier second time around
Len Pasquarelli

Last week's signing of Art Monk by the Philadelphia Eagles will afford
the NFL's all-time leading pass-catcher a chance to pad his total of 934
receptions. It might also permit him to add to his record for
consecutives games with at least one catch. The top streaks in league
Player……….. Pos…Games
Art Monk……… WR….180(*)
Steve Largent……WR….177
Jerry Rice……. WR….155(*)
Ozzie Newsome……TE….150
Harold Carmichael..WR….127
Keith Byars……..FB….124(*)
Mel Gray……… WR….121
Eric Martin……..WR….107
Danny Abramowicz.. WR….105
Anthony Carter… WR….105
Gary Clark……. WR….105
Note: (*) Indicates streak is still active.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 11, 1996
FALCONS REPORT; Takeaways keep slipping away
Len Pasquarelli

Kicker Morten Andersen was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Blue-Gray college all-star game this week in Montgomery, Ala. Among the other inductees: Art Monk, Cedrick Hardman and Jack Pardee. Andersen appeared in the 1981 Blue-Gray game and also handled the punting chores for coach Mike White.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 30, 1996
NFL REPORT; Lions unsupportive of Fontes after he shows up Mitchell
Len Pasquarelli

Nobody ever mentions Henry Ellard as a potential Hall of Fame candidate, but the 14-year veteran has put together a portfolio with the Rams and Redskins that makes him worthy of consideration. Ellard needs just one catch Sunday at Buffalo to move past Hall of Fame receiver Charlie Joyner into fifth place on the all-time receptions list with 751. Ellard is 21 yards shy of supplanting Art Monk, who certainly will be in the Hall of Fame, for fourth place in receiving yards. "Watching him is like watching a ballet," said former Rams teammate Flipper Anderson. Added current Washington mate Bill Brooks of the 35-year-old Ellard: "He keeps himself in such great shape, he might be able to play three or four more years if he wanted." With '95 first-rounder Michael Westbrook a major disappointment, every defense in the league knows Ellard is the "go- to" guy for Gus Frerotte, but no one is able to adequately cover him.

ESPN Classic
Saturday, January 25, 2003
'Convoluted' logic ends long process
Len Pasquarelli

The Hall of Fame, and justifiably so, has very strict confidentiality rules. And I, like my colleague and fellow Hall of Fame selector John Clayton, am not about to breach those guidelines. Suffice it to say that the debate on Saturday morning was lively and compelling at times. There were a few instances of tedium, and it took nearly two hours to wade through just the first seven candidates, but the experience was a rewarding one.

A few insights, without stepping over the guidelines fashioned by the great Hall of Fame people like Joe Horrigan, from the session: The debate over the merits of quarterback Ken Stabler, who had 28 fewer touchdown passes than interceptions during his 15-year career. The fact that Randy Gradishar and Harry Carson could have been the first inside linebackers from teams that played 3-4 fronts to be inducted (neither made the cut). The fact Art Monk averaged only 13.5 yards per catch in his career and, in 16 seasons with the Redskins, led his team in receptions just six times. The presentation speeches, which typically ranged from eloquent to elongated.

For those unfamiliar with the Hall of Fame selection mechanics, it is a three-tiered process, one that eventually winnows down the field to six modern-day candidates and one hopeful from the seniors committee. That one man this year was Stram, the Energizer Bunny of a coach, and a guy known only to most youngsters as the caricature on the sidelines ("Keep matriculating the ball up the field, boys") in Super Bowl IV.

The 14 modern-day finalists are first cut to 10 and, falling out on that vote were Monk, Lester Hayes, Stabler and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson. A subsequent ballot cuts the field to six, exclusive of the seniors candidate, and that lopped off Carson, Gradishar, Claude Humphrey and Bob Kuechenberg.

St.Petersburg Times
September 5, 2003
Fame May Beckon a Few Bucs
Gary Shelton

Keyshawn Johnson

Pasquarelli: "I think Key is going to suffer because certain selectors are going to diminish the achievements of wide receivers because of the way the game has evolved. Art Monk may never get in. There is a group of voters who believe receiving totals are so inflated we need to apply different standards. That may hurt him."

Florida Times-Union
November 18, 2004
Jags WR stats call for hall?; Smith has been hot, but likely needs more catches, Super Bowl trip to join list of NFL's finest
Vito Stellino

One of Smith's problems is that he hasn't played in a Super Bowl. Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "There's no Super Bowls, and nothing sticks out as a signature Jimmy Smith play."

Grossi said he has an open mind on Smith, although he'd have to be persuaded.

Three voters, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Len Pasquarelli of and Ira Miller of the San Francisco Chronicle, don't appear to be ready to consider Smith at this time.

"Right now, he's not on my radar screen," Bouchette said.

"My initial reaction would be no," Pasquarelli said "I don't know where we're going to set the bar for wide receivers."

Miller said he wouldn't vote for Smith.

ESPN Radio
May 17, 2005
The Dan Patrick Show

Dan Patrick: (asking about the Hall of Fame balloting) Art Monk?
Len Pasquarelli: No.

Miami Herald
February 4, 2006
The Hall Debate
Jason Cole

''It's really about whether a guy passes the smell test,'' longtime NFL writer and at-large voter Len Pasquarelli of said this week. “Stats aren't always the test, longevity isn't the best gauge, and some people talk about impact in big games, but there are a lot of guys who did that who aren't in.

May 11, 2006

Bob Oates

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 1:00 pm

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Bob Oates is a "Likely Yes," so with 37 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

5 No; 17 Yes; 15 Unknown/Maybe

Bob Oates is one of the iconic sportswriters on the Hall of Fame voting committee.  He covered every Super Bowl until the past one, and he is still covering the NFL beat for the LA Times.  He has never talked about his votes for the Hall of Fame, but he has had nothing but good things to say about Art Monk over the years.

Los Angeles Times
January 20, 1988
Can the One-Man Gang Handle the Gang From Washington?
Bob Oates

Washington won the National Football Conference championship despite an injury roster that included Art Monk, its best receiver.

Los Angeles Times
January 26, 1988
Super Bowl XXII; Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos; Stop Elway? Redskins Need Williams to Convert Third Downs
Bob Oates

Redskin tight end Clint Didier, 6-5 and 240, is another wide receiver-type requiring double coverage. But few teams can free two defensive players to cover a tight end. And the defensive problem thickens for any opponent whenever Art Monk is physically able to perform for the Redskins, as he will be this week.

Monk, 6-3 and 210, is a tight end-type playing wide receiver. He is one of the few real football players playing that position in this era of scatback receivers.

Los Angeles Times
February 1, 1988
Super Bowl XXII; Redskins' Balance Tips Scale Their Way
Bob Oates

With smart coaching, Williams is a quarterback who can do it all. He had proved this two weeks ago in the National Conference title game against the Minnesota Vikings, when many fans wondered why Gibbs didn't pull him in the second quarter, or the third.

What most fans overlooked was an obvious fact: Williams was throwing the ball straight against Minnesota; it was his receivers who were misplaying it.

They misplayed it again in San Diego, to begin with, when Williams kept plugging away, hitting Art Monk with a timely pass for a first down on third and 16, finding a third target when he had to, or a fourth, throwing soft and straight when he had to, bombing the Broncos when he could.

So this was Williams' second straight big game in a series of big games for the Redskins — a series in which, as a football team, they have been clearly on the come. It was in the Super Bowl that they arrived.

Under Gibbs, in other words, the Redskins peaked at just the right time, always the mark of good coaching.

Los Angeles Times
October 13, 1991
Millen's Pace Slows, But Not His Success
Bob Oates

Question: What's good about the Redskins?

Millen: They have the commitment to success that you see in the NFL's two or three other really solid organizations. Being a Plan B free agent (for the last three years) gives you a chance to pick out teams on (the rise).

Q: What's different about the Redskins?

A: Of all the teams I've played for, the Redskins are the least talented. They're also the hardest working. This is a team of overachievers — which must be what (owner) Jack Kent Cooke and (Coach) Joe Gibbs want. There are more overachievers here than you see on the Raiders and 49ers and several other clubs put together.

Q: What is your idea of a talented player?

A: Howie Long. Jim Kelly. There are no Howie Longs here, no Derrick Thomases, no Thurman Thomases. I happen to be an admirer of (Redskin receivers) Art Monk and Gary Clark — but when you get down in the dirt with those guys, the thing you notice isn't their great talent but their great attitude.

Q: Some people admire at least four Washington defensive players — Mann, Marshall, Millen and Green — which sounds like a Washington law firm. Are you putting them down?

A: Not at all. (Defensive end) Charles Mann is at the upper end of the (ability) spectrum. There was a time when Darrell Green relied completely on speed, but now I'd put him up there with (former Raider) Mike Haynes — the best corner I've seen. (Linebacker) Wilber Marshall you know about. What I'm saying is that — as a group — we aren't heavy with great players. The 49ers and Raiders have a lot more Greens and Manns.

Q: How does a football team succeed without talent in the NFL?

A: The (Redskins) do it with unusually sound offensive and defensive schemes, and with players who are a good match for those schemes. This club often gets a slow start on the season because the coaches spend so much time trying to find out who does what well. (Gibbs) spends more time and effort on that than anyone else I know. It's the key to his success.

Q: Is it true that the Redskins reflect the coach's personality?

A: Most teams do — this one, especially. (Gibbs) is an extremely down-to-earth person, and (his) is a blue-collar team. The focus is on results, not glamour. This is a team without celebrities — a strange team for Washington, D.C. Here's this sophisticated political community — the most sophisticated in the country, in the world, probably — and here's this very blue-collar team.

Q: As a place to work, how does Washington compare with Los Angeles and San Francisco?

A: My children love Washington — the Smithsonian, the monuments, the history — but I don't really know. I seldom got into L.A. or San Francisco, either, except to play football. I love the slow life. I loved living in El Segundo, and then in Palo Alto.

Q: How do you stand the winters here?

A: I love all the seasons. Who you play for is what makes the difference — not where.

Los Angeles Times
November 12, 1991
Today's NFL Talent is Better than Ever
Bob Oates

Football fans familiar with pro football's first 72 years divide into two groups when evaluating the last decade or so in the NFL.

There are those who call it an era of mediocrity. And there are those who say that football is better than ever.

Some support for the second view came the other day from the editors of Pro Football Weekly, who rated nine 1990s players as certain Hall of Famers in future voting.

They are quarterbacks Joe Montana and Dan Marino, wide receivers Jerry Rice and Art Monk, linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Mike Singletary, running back Eric Dickerson, tackle Anthony Munoz and safety Ronnie Lott.

In judging them, here's one gauge: Few if any earlier NFL generations saw as many great players in action in any one era.

And the truth is that there are more than nine. Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan has a name for some: Hall of the Very Good.

Pro Football Weekly's nominees for that Hall: running backs Marcus Allen and Ottis Anderson, tackle Jackie Slater, and defensive stars Howie Long and Joey Browner.

Better than ever? Football? Yes indeed.

Los Angeles Times
November 19, 1991
Quality of Quarterbacks Hasn't Slipped
Bob Oates

Player of the year: As NFC clubs won three of four interconference games Sunday, the unbeaten Washington Redskins, running the string to 11, routed the Pittsburgh Steelers, 41-14.

Even so, when wide receiver Art Monk fought his way through the Pittsburgh defense to get two early passes from quarterback Mark Rypien, the game was still on the line.

On plays of 53 and 11 yards, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver set up a field goal and scored a touchdown, and for the Redskins, the rest was downhill.

At 33, Monk is probably the best player today. "He (almost) never drops the ball," Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said.

Said linebacker Matt Millen: "If all of us had Art's attitude, we'd be undefeated every year."

Last season, San Francisco 49er receiver Jerry Rice was probably the player of the year. In 1989, it could have been Montana. Before that, it could have been Chicago Bear linebacker Mike Singletary.

Earlier, when he was with the Green Bay Packers, it was wide receiver James Lofton — and Lofton isn't far away today. But this is Monk's year.

Los Angeles Times
December 10, 1991
Backups Are Coming to the Forefront
Bob Oates

Quote Department:

Gary Clark, Redskin receiver, who has led his team in yards and touchdowns for seven years: "We all want to be the best receiver on the team, but we know that Art Monk is."

Mark Rypien, Redskin quarterback: "It's going to be a kick for me to be the guy who throws the pass to Art Monk (next year) when he breaks Steve Largent's record."

Los Angeles Times
January 22, 1992
Redskins Habe Been a Big Part of NFC's Dominance
Bob Oates

The Redskins are coached by Joe Gibbs, who, by this hour next week, could be a three-time Super Bowl winner.

Only one other NFL team has done more lately. The San Francisco 49ers, as organized by their 1980s coach, Bill Walsh, are a four-time Super Bowl winner.

And, no doubt, there lies most of the explanation: The NFC has dominated the NFL since the 1981 season — winning nine of 10 Super Bowl games — for, apparently, two principal reasons: Walsh and Gibbs.

The teams these two created won the Super Bowl in 1982, '83, '85, '88, '89 and '90 — six of the last 10.

Walsh, the winning coach three times, left the 49ers with the talent, the coaches and the system to produce their 1990 victory.

Walsh and Gibbs both began in pro ball as assistant coaches in the other conference. Had they been promoted by their AFC owners in San Diego and Cincinnati, the AFC, conceivably, could now be dominant.

In the years shortly before the NFC's Walsh-Gibbs revolution, AFC teams won eight of nine.

Walsh has returned to Stanford after a stint on television, but Gibbs shows no signs of retreat.

"It's still fun," Gibbs said this week of his life in pro football.

As he sees it, his present offensive team is the best he has had. And his defensive team is getting to be a match for the others.

The anatomy of the Redskins:

The strength of Gibbs' team is his system. Unlike the 49ers, who won four times with one quarterback, Joe Montana, the Redskins have been led by three winners: Joe Theismann in Super Bowl XVII, Doug Williams in XXII, and Mark Rypien this season.

In Redskin football, the players are subordinate to the system, a structured, balanced entity on both sides of the ball. The offensive system is based on a lot of pre-snap shifting, a lot of motion, a single running back, three receivers at times, three tight ends at times and a careful mix of runs and passes.

The Redskins never forget to run outside, to pass down the middle, to call screens and draws, or to call the other basic plays that can be neglected so easily in big-game pressure.

As for replacements, the parts in their system have all proved interchangeable in trades or the draft. For example, this year's John Riggins is Earnest Byner, who alternates with Ricky Ervins to run exactly the same plays, though at confusingly different tempos.

Each year, Gibbs updates Redskin strategy, incorporating, say, elements of the run-and-shoot or of the Buffalo no-huddle. But the system remains.

And so the matchup Sunday is Buffalo's individual stars vs. the Washington system. It's because the stars are so bright that it has the look of an even game.

The Redskins have only two running plays in their basic offense — a power run and a counter play.

To the defense, these plays look exactly alike at the snap, when the single back makes a power lunge. An instant later, he has either developed it into a full-blown power play or he has countered sharply in the other direction.

Such an offense is hardest on the four linebackers in a defense such as the Bills' 3-4. Such linebackers, coached to flow to the ball, can only be guessing if they move with the running back's first step.

If the defense brings up a safety to help out, quarterback Rypien is a threat to strike with a long pass to a single-covered receiver.

The primary Redskin receivers, Art Monk and Gary Clark, rank fourth and fifth this season in NFC passes caught. The tackles in Washington's huge, efficient offensive line, Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby, rank with the NFL's best. And Rypien is the No. 2-ranked passer.

Rypien has come from nowhere to stardom in the last six months. Some critics still don't believe in him, but it's all over for Buffalo if Super Bowl XXVI is another of his big games this season.

The Redskin defensive team will fight the Buffalo no-huddle offense with substitutes who are poised like sprinters along the sideline. The instant a whistle ends any Buffalo play, the appropriate Redskin situation players will rush in before Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly can call the next play.

That is one scenario being readied by Redskin defensive coach Richie Petitbon. "We can get our (substitutes) in," Petitbon promised.

In another scenario, Petitbon, who is a George Allen protege, will fight Kelly with the Redskins' 11 best combination run-pass defensive players, including end Charles Mann, linebacker Wilber Marshall and cornerback Darrell Green.

Washington's eight other defensive starters are anonymous Plan B refugees who fit the Redskin scheme as if drafted for it. The scheme rests on an intelligent mix of coverages and fronts with occasional timely blitzing.

The defense, like the offense, is steady rather than flashy on this solid, complete team. The Redskins are No. 4 on offense, No. 3 on defense, No. 7 rushing, No. 3 in rushing defense, and, most significantly, No. 1 in average yards passing and No. 2 in average yards yielded to passes.

The Redskin punter, Kelly Goodburn, ranks 26th in net average, but Gibbs' kicking game is otherwise a strength under one of the NFL's leading special-team coaches, Wayne Sevier. The club's No. 4 running back, Brian Mitchell, is the star of the special teams, ranking second for average in his specialty, returning punts. Mitchell and Ervins return kickoffs. The Redskin kicker, Chip Lohmiller, is more reliable than most.

Los Angeles Times
January 28, 1992
With Gibbs, Rypien, Look For Redskins Again Next Season
Bob Oates

For two reasons in particular, the Washington Redskins have a better chance to keep winning Super Bowls in the 1990s than their predecessors had in the '60s, '70s and '80s:

— Washington Coach Joe Gibbs, 52, has a system in place that promotes longevity. He and his people are so organized that they are winning almost effortlessly, as they did Sunday, when they overwhelmed the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24.

— Washington quarterback Mark Rypien, 29, who appeared to be a bust as recently as six months ago, has played about as well this season as any quarterback ever, and he looks as if he could keep doing it for another five or 10 years.

"The key for us in (Sunday's) game is that Rypien got knocked around and came back to make the big plays," Gibbs said Monday.

Quarterbacks Dan Marino, Joe Namath and Joe Montana have all shown more brilliance than Rypien probably will ever show. They are all geniuses of a sort, and Rypien is no genius.

But few quarterbacks have projected Rypien's substance and stability, and fewer still have displayed his long-ball touch.

"My objective is to come back and put together four or five years of consistency," he said Monday.

That could happen.

A Redskin future: As defending champions in the last quarter of a century, most NFL teams couldn't cut it. And the Redskins haven't been an exception.

Their history under Gibbs is that they win the Super Bowl every four or five years — they won it with their '82, '87 and '91 teams — and then tail off.

Gibbs' '83 players were humiliated by the Raiders, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. His '88 team fell to 7-9.

His '91 champions have two advantages that earlier Redskins lacked:

— The winning quarterbacks in '82 and '87, Joe Theismann and Doug Williams, were aging, beaten up and near retirement, unlike Rypien, whose best football is still ahead.

If Gibbs' winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks says something for his coaching, it also speaks to the lack of continuity he has put up with at his most important position.

— Gibbs and his coaches are more experienced. They learned something when they were clobbered by the Raiders. After some 10 years, they have learned more.

This is the most experienced bunch in the NFL, as well as the most consistently successful. If you're a pro coach elsewhere, you can't look to the future with a great deal of hope.

The difference: The Gibbs system will be something to reckon with as long as he's in the league.

Not that it's necessarily for everybody. The run-and-shoot, as operated by Detroit and Houston, and the Buffalo no-huddle, when it's working, are potentially more lethal. If Gibbs were just coming into football, he might well change styles.

"I'm very much taken with the run-and-shoot," he said. "There really isn't any way to stop a four-wide (-receiver), one-back offense."

Over the last 11 years, however, Gibbs has won more NFL games than any other coach. And he has invested so much energy in mastering his own one-back system — which alternates three or four wide receivers with three or four tight ends — that he won't leave it now.

It's a beautiful system, particularly with players as competent as Art Monk, Earnest Byner and Rypien.

One mark of a good offense is the way it gets its receivers in the clear. The real difference between Washington and Buffalo was that Rypien's receivers were almost always open, and Jim Kelly's almost never were. The sophistication of the Buffalo offense simply didn't match the sophistication of that of the Redskins.

Injury luck: This was a season when the Redskins upheld one Super Bowl tradition, as stated by former coach Sid Gillman: "The NFL champion is always the healthiest good team."

From their first game to the 19th, the Redskins started the same offensive and defensive players, even at quarterback.

In part, this was because of Gibbs' coaching. The offensive line was taught that a sack is unacceptable. Rypien was taught how to avoid punishment by dispensing the ball quickly.

In part, it was done in training, where nothing is hit or miss at Redskin Park.

"If I got hurt, it wasn't going to be because of a lack of conscientious training," Rypien said.

And in large part, it was because of good luck.

Los Angeles Times
October 6, 1992
Attention to Records Helps Everyone
Bob Oates

In the first five minutes here Sunday, the Washington Redskins twice threw to Art Monk, their 34-year-old wide receiver.

The first was a bit over his head. When the second connected, Monk had caught passes in 136 consecutive games, moving a step closer to the only NFL players ahead of him, Ozzie Newsome at 150 and Steve Largent at 177.

Are records important? The Redskins think so. Though upset in Phoenix, 27-24, they romped through a 17-0 first half in which Joe Gibbs, their play-calling coach, took no chances: He went to Monk early.

"Art is such a great football player," said Charley Taylor, a Redskin pass-offense coach who, as a Hall of Fame receiver, is an expert on the subject. "We want him to have everything he deserves."

The most important number that Monk is reaching for this season is the big one in the NFL's pass-receiving book: most catches in a career.

With 813 after pulling in three more on Sunday, he needs six in next Monday's Denver game to tie Largent's record 819 for Seattle from 1976 through '89.

One-man club: Curiously, pro football, hasn't been very record-conscious over the years.

Baseball, for instance, got excited this season when Robin Yount and George Brett each got hit No. 3,000. That figure is nowhere near the all-time best. In fact, 16 other players are in the 3,000-hit club.

By comparison, if and when Monk catches his 820th pass, he will be in a one-man club.

The Redskins, however, respect all achievements.

"It's good for (Monk) and us to be a record-smasher," Taylor said of Monk's charge for first place in two NFL categories.

Los Angeles Times
October 10, 1992
Esteem Heat; Self-Effacing Art Monk Has an Eye on NFL Reception Record – And Far Beyond
Bob Oates

After a long workout last month in the stifling heat of Ashburn, Va., most of the Washington Redskins dragged themselves slowly over to the bench and lined up at the water coolers.

Most — but not Art Monk.

Heading the other way, Monk, the Redskins' senior wide receiver, walked briskly up to the referee who had been brought in for the day to discuss the NFL's new rules.

Then, ignoring the heat and his aching muscles, he strode vigorously toward the club's headquarters building — the new one, which isn't far from his old Virginia home — and disappeared at the locker room door.

At 34, standing 6 feet 3, the 210-pound Monk might be the NFL's best-preserved physical specimen.

"He's our premier guy as far as fitness and preparing himself to play the game," Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said.

When he makes his 820th catch, Monk will become the most prolific pass receiver of all time. It might happen during the Redskin-Denver Bronco game Monday night at Washington. With seven catches, he would break the NFL record set by Steve Largent of the Seattle Seahawks in 1976-89.

"As far as those kind of records, that's maybe in the (top two)," Gibbs said, noting that only two baseball players have hit 700 home runs, and that only two football players have caught 800 passes.

But 820 won't be enough for Monk.

"Art has had (1,000 catches) as a goal for some time," said Hall of Famer Charley Taylor, a Redskin offensive coach.

That would be an accomplishment in a league that Raymond Berry left after 631, Fred Biletnikoff after 589 and Lance Alworth after 542.

Yet, as unlikely as it seems to many old-timers, Monk could get to 1,000 in two years, sometime in 1994. He has averaged 74 catches throughout his 30s, 67 lifetime. In 1994, he won't turn 37 until Dec. 5.

Despite Monk's success, many fans aren't exactly sure who he is. On the field, he never draws attention to himself. Off the field, his first order of business is to duck attention.

After the Redskin game last weekend, Monk was asked about his success several times — near his locker, near the shower room door, near the Redskin bus outside, and at the airport, but he didn't answer.

Last summer, at a hastily arranged news conference, Monk, with his record bid imminent, was goaded by the Redskin publicity department into replying briefly to a few questions. But he hasn't spoken with reporters before or since.

Apparently, it isn't that he dislikes or distrusts the media. Those who know him say that if he dislikes or distrusts anyone, it is Art Monk. He rates himself as merely another receiver on a team with superb receiving, they say, and he believes that he isn't good enough to deserve the focus that has been increasingly on him at the expense of the others.

And his attitude is nothing new.

At Syracuse in 1980, he was surprised when the Redskins drafted him during the first round, he told college friends at the time. And since then, apparently, he has continuously undervalued himself.

But in his many doubts about himself, Monk stands alone on the Redskins.

"Art can do anything he wants to do," said teammate Gary Clark, who has caught more than 500 passes in slightly more than seven years.

"We all want to be the (best receiver), but we know he's the best. He's the best because he works the year around on catching and conditioning."

Among other things, Clark said, Monk watches his weight despite a lifelong weakness for candy bars.

Only once last season, according to Washington writer Richard Justice, did Monk go out to lunch with Clark and the other receivers. There were double cheeseburgers all around, except for Monk, who ordered an apple.

"Made me sick," Clark said.

As Clark sees it, there are two unusual things about his quiet friend:

Monk thinks of himself as a good musician more than as a top receiver.

Brought up in a musical family to play trombone, he also plays tuba, guitar and drums. Once at a National Symphony Orchestra concert, he was on stage as a children's program annotator. His sister is a professional gospel singer. His second cousin was the late jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

"I just don't see myself on that level (with the best receivers)," Monk said during last summer's news conference.

These feelings of insecurity prompt Monk to work at football year-round and then to play every game at the top of his game.

And if in time he catches 1,000 passes — almost 200 more than anyone else has ever caught — it will be evident that the talent he denies made it possible, and that his sense of inadequacy made it inevitable.

Some say it is inevitable because:

— Although he isn't the best receiver in the country today, among those who play his position, he is by far the best football player.

— He is the NFL's most complete receiving package. Others have specialized as short-pass possession receivers, or third-down experts, or deep threats. Monk has the speed to do it all.

— He is willing to go anywhere to catch the ball. Many of the so-called "pure receivers" drop the ball when running over the middle or fail to run the pattern out, or, as the defensive backs say, short-arm the ball. Not Monk.

"It takes a tough guy to go in there," Gibbs said. "Some of them will go in, but they won't really look for the ball. (Monk) does."

— Monk also has the work habits to maintain his physical condition into his late 30s and 40s.

— As a Redskin receiver, playing alongside such good fellow receivers as Clark and Ricky Sanders, Monk is rarely double-covered.

— He is a pro's pro on a pro's pro kind of team. Everyone respects the Redskins.


In Great Falls, Va., Monk lives as quietly as he plays and works, avoiding neighbors as if they were sportswriters.

He lives on a lake in a three-level contemporary house with his wife, who was a Syracuse classmate, and their three children.

For Monk, it isn't like the old days in White Plains, N.Y., where he and his sister spent their early childhood in an apartment above a church rented by their father, a welder, and mother, a housemaid in nearby Scarsdale.

The lake that edges the Monk property is stocked with the fish that he and his son go after regularly and devotedly. Fishing has always been Monk's primary avocation. During the week before the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, he made time for ice fishing.

Monk also has a big room full of computers.

His multi-year Redskin contract, paying more than $1.1 million per year, will expire after the season. It was negotiated by his lawyer, Richard Bennett, who joined him in the Syracuse days and now lives nearby.

They are expected to seek $2 million per year next year. But as always, Monk probably will take what the Redskins give him. In 13 years, he has never held out.

He probably never has thought of it.
Catching On

All-time leaders in receptions in the NFL:
1. Steve Largent: 819
2. x-Art Monk: 813
3. Charlie Joiner: 750
4. x-James Lofton: 718
5. Ozzie Newsome: 662
6. Charley Taylor: 649
7. Don Maynard: 633
8. Raymond Berry: 631
9. Harold Carmichael: 590
10. Fred Biletnikoff: 589
How Monk Rates

Most Receptions, Season

106 — Monk, Washington (1984)
101 — Charley Hennigan, Houston (1984)
100 — Lionel Taylor, Denver (1961)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1990)
Haywood Jeffires, Houston (1991)

Most Seasons, 50+ Receptions
10 — Steve Largent, Seattle (1976, 78-81, 83-87)
9 — Monk, Washington (1980-81, 84-86, 88-91)
8 — James Lofton, Green Bay (1979-81, 83-86) Buffalo (1991)

Receptions, Most Consecutive Games
177 — Steve Largent, Seattle
150 — Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland
132 — Art Monk, Washington

Los Angeles Times
October 20, 1992
Johnson Has the Weapons to be Confident
Bob Oates

— Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, Denver receiver coach, on what it takes to set a record — most passes caught — that was once his and now belongs to the Redskins' Art Monk: "Durability and being with an organization that's got it together, including a coach and a quarterback."

Los Angeles Times
February 1, 2004
Elway, Sanders Receive Hall Passes; They make it to Canton in first year of eligibility. Vikings' Eller, lineman Brown had longer wait.
Bob Oates

For Saturday's other Hall of Fame finalists, it never happened at all. The two who came closest, reaching the round of six players before their ultimate rejection, were two former Dallas Cowboys, tackle Rayfield Wright and late receiver Bob Hayes.

Of the finalists, four couldn't survive the first cut: Raider cornerback Lester Hayes, Washington wide receiver Art Monk, Denver tackle Gary Zimmerman and late New York Giant General Manager George Young.

Lasting into the round of 10 but not thereafter were Dallas safety Cliff Harris, Miami guard Bob Kuechenberg, Giant linebacker Harry Carson and Chicago defensive end Richard Dent.

On the voting panel were all 39 members of the selection committee, most of them veteran sportswriters. For election, 80% aye votes were required.

-=-=-=-=-=- Blog
January 29, 2006
Missing Oates
Vic Carucci

I was saddened by the news that Bob Oates, who had been among a small group of journalists to have covered every Super Bowl, will not be on hand for this one. The 90-year-old Oates, who still writes about the NFL for the Los Angeles Times, will remain in Southern California to be with his wife, Marnie, who was badly injured after a recent fall. Being part of the elite group that has been on hand for all of the first 39 Super Bowls is a tremendous source of pride for Bob. He had every intention of maintaining the streak for at least the next decade, and if you've ever been around the guy, you would have no doubt about his ability to do exactly that. But I also know that nothing can match his love and devotion for Marnie, his wife of 64 years. A Super Bowl party would not be complete without seeing this vibrant couple on the dance floor, showing moves that would put to shame a vast majority of men and women a third of their age. I have a special place in my heart for Bob. When I was 13, I was so fascinated by a feature piece on Bob that one of the TV networks aired as part of a pregame show it inspired me to want to become a football writer.

May 10, 2006

Peter King

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 12:07 pm

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Peter King is "Fighting Against Art Monk," so with 36 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

5 No; 16 Yes; 15 Unknown/Maybe

Peter King is one of the most outspoken Hall of Fame voters against Art Monk, and he has written more extensively about the subject than anyone.  However, unlike Dr. Z, King's opposition to Monk did not develop during Monk's career.  According to King, he did not turn against Monk until he did some research upon Monk's retirement.  Also unlike Dr. Z, King uses a whole variety of arguments against Monk and actually keeps coming up with new ones each year.  In any case, there is a lot to read from one of the most prolific football writers in America:

Sports Illustrated
Inside the NFL; Right Man for the Job
November 12, 1990
Peter King

"He always was a rally guy," said Giants coach Bill Parcells after seeing highlights of his former backup quarterback, Jeff Rutledge, pulling out a 41-38 overtime win for the Redskins. "Jeff always was at his best in helter-skelter games. The crazier things got, when everything was going wrong, the better he was."

Sent in to replace struggling starter Stan Humphries with 10:23 left in the third quarter and Washington trailing Detroit 35-14, Rutledge completed 30 of 42 passes for 363 yards and one touchdown. He also ran 12 yards for a score on a quarterback draw with 18 seconds left in regulation, a play that shocked everyone in the Silverdome. In overtime, Rutledge's pinpoint 40-yard pass to Art Monk, thrown from his own end zone on third-and-15, kept the winning drive alive.

Sports Illustrated
Inside the NFL; The Art of Receiving
December 3, 1990
Peter King

Art Monk eschews interviews, so NFL fans know little about him — except his numbers, which certainly speak well of his 11-year career as a Redskins wide receiver. Monk is third on the list of alltime pass receivers, with 707 career catches, which put him 43 behind Charlie Joiner and 112 behind Steve Largent's NFL-record 819. If Monk, whose five receptions in a 27-17 loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day increased his season total to 45, remains healthy and continues to catch passes at the same pace that he has the past two seasons — 4.8 receptions a game — he'll pass Largent in Week 3 of the 1992 season. Monk had the most productive first 10 years of any receiver in NFL history.

Sports Illustrated
moon BEAMS; The Houston Oilers' run-and-shoot aerial act may revolve around quarterback Warren Moon, but his array of talented wide receivers gives it brilliance
December 16, 1991
Peter King

The spectrum of top-quality wide receivers includes players of varying size, ability and demeanor, and the Oilers seem to have somebody that fits into just about every category.
–The franchise receiver. This is usually a big man who can take the punishment and attention of double-coverage and still flourish, like 6 ft. 2 in. Jerry Rice or 6 ft. 3 in. Art Monk, and no one in the AFC has more catches over the last two seasons than the 6 ft. 2 in., 201-pound Jeffires.

"Rice and John Taylor might be the best pair of receivers, and the Redskins might have the best three together [Gary Clark, Art Monk, Ricky Sanders]," says Bronco defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. "But no one in the league has four like Houston."

Sports Illustrated
Catch the Rising Stars; Bursting onto the NFL stage in unprecedented nuumbers, talent-rich wide receivers are stealing the show
September 7, 1992
Peter King

Michael Irvin had the video control in his hand, so he could stop the game tape whenever he wanted to. He didn't want to. Not now, not this tape, not this game. Up there on the big screen in a meeting room at the Dallas Cowboys' practice facility, the Cowboys were beating the Washington Redskins, and Irvin was beating Darrell Green, the Skins' five-time Pro Bowl cornerback. Nine catches, 130 yards. That's a beating. It happened at RFK Stadium last November, when Dallas upended Washington 24-21 to hand the Redskins their first loss in 12 games and Irvin surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in receptions with four games left in the regular season.

On the screen, Irvin ran a deep curl, Troy Aikman threw the ball, Green recovered, Irvin boxed him out, Irvin caught the pass, Green leveled him — plus 17 yards. Irvin ran a slant, Green stayed all over him, Irvin made the catch — good for 13. "Look at how great Darrell plays this," said Irvin. "He plays it perfect. I've got to box him out to catch this ball. He's the best."

But on it went: a pop over the middle for nine, a curl for 11, two catches that went for 20 and 44 yards were called back on penalties at the line of scrimmage, and, then, at the start of the fourth quarter, the clincher, a deep slant, with the ball thrown behind Irvin at the Washington four. He reached back, snagged it and spun around Green, who was left grasping at air. Touchdown. Game, Dallas. "I am certainly humbled," Green said when it was over.

Lots of cornerbacks, marvelous and marginal, are humbled weekly in today's NFL. "This is the golden age of wide receivers in pro football," says former San Diego Charger quarterback Dan Fouts, who is now a CBS analyst.

The wide receivers are so talented and so plentiful. The rules are so favorable to them. The defenses are so keyed to stopping the run. So many multisport athletes who play wideout are choosing football for their careers. And the colleges are so factorylike in churning out wide-receiver prospects, while all-purpose tight ends have become nearly obsolete. The result is that wide receivers are thriving in the NFL as never before in the league's 73-year history.

In 1981 wideouts accounted for 42.2% of all completions; by '91 the figure had shot up to 58.1%. In 1986 nine of the top 20 pass catchers in the NFL were either running backs or tight ends; in '91 zero backs and one tight end, Marv Cook of the New England Patriots, cracked the top 20. Sixteen wide receivers caught at least 70 passes last year; before then, no more than 12 had grabbed that many in any one season. The Skins' second-leading receiver, wideout Gary Clark, and the Houston Oilers' third-leading pass catcher, wideout Ernest Givins, both caught 70 passes; so did each of the Miami Dolphins' bookend wideouts, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. When Clark was the third-leading receiver on his team in 1989, he had 79 catches.

In 1971 Kansas City Chief wideout Elmo Wright ranked 35th in the league with 26 receptions. In 1991 the 35th-ranked receiver, ageless James Lofton of the Buffalo Bills, finished with 57 catches. The advent of the run-and-shoot and similar high-octane passing attacks favored by the Oilers, Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, among others, is inflating the receiving figures to some degree. But even the teams that traditionally — and successfully — have scattered the ball among all their pass catchers are concentrating more on their wideouts. Three years ago, for instance, 44.8% of the San Francisco 49ers' completed passes went to their wide receivers and 41.3% went to their backs. Last year 53% of Niner completions were to wideouts, while 31% were to backs. San Francisco fullback Tom Rathman had 73 catches in 1989, but only 34 in '91. Quite simply, there is a new way of playing offensive football.

And there are new players to play it. Rob Moore of the New York Jets (70 receptions last year) is 23 years old. Atlanta's Andre Rison (81) is 25. Irvin (an NFC-high 93) and the Minnesota Vikings' Cris Carter (72) are 26. Haywood Jeffires of the Oilers hauled in 100 passes to lead the league last year. He's 27.

Only three of today's most accomplished receivers — Lofton, 36; Drew Hill, 35, who caught 90 passes last season for the Oilers and now is with the Falcons; and Washington's Art Monk, 34, whose 71 receptions in '91 left him only 18 shy of the league's record of 819 career catches — are nearing the end of their careers. However, both Atlanta and Washington have terrific young players preparing to take over starring roles. Michael Haynes of the Falcons, who played trumpet in high school instead of football, is only 26, but he led the NFL last season in yards per catch (22.4). And the Redskins traded up to the No. 4 pick in this year's draft to get Michigan's Desmond Howard, whose acrobatic receptions won him the Heisman Trophy last fall.

We haven't even mentioned San Francisco's Jerry Rice yet, which gives you some idea of the depth at the position nowadays. Rice, 29, who probably would be voted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot even if he never played another down, is likely to break the alltime record for touchdown grabs — he needs eight to exceed Steve Largent's mark of 100 — by November, no matter if Joe Montana, Steve Young, Steve Bono or Sonny Bono is his quarterback.

Although Montana missed all last season because he was recovering from elbow surgery, Rice still had 80 receptions and caught a league-high 14 TD passes. But then Rice has been startlingly productive for a decade, beginning with his three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1982 through '84) at Mississippi Valley State, where he played in Division I-AA obscurity. Then one Saturday in October 1984, San Francisco coach Bill Walsh flipped on the TV to watch college football, saw Rice on the highlights and took notice. "The hands, the body, the speed," Walsh recalls. "What an absolutely majestic football player."

Most scouts wrote off Rice because his achievements came mostly against overmatched competition. Walsh, however, drafted him in the first round in 1985. As Rice enters his eighth season, he is universally regarded as the best wideout in the game. "They call Michael Jordan, Jesus in tennis shoes," says Irvin. "Jerry Rice is Jesus in cleats."

The deification of Rice became complete in January 1989, when he tied a Super Bowl record with 11 catches against the Cincinnati Bengals and broke the mark for receiving yards, with 215. That performance, which earned Rice the game's MVP award, put wideouts over the top in terms of their ability to dominate a game. And his new $7.8 million, three-year contract, a deal reached only after he held out from the Niner training camp until Aug. 25, confirmed his place among the game's most valued players. He is now the highest-salaried nonquarterback in pro football history.

Other wideouts who followed Rice's lead in passing up most or all of camp in a bid to cash in on their newfound worth included Irvin, Rison, Curtis Duncan of the Oilers, Brian Blades of the Seattle Seahawks and Webster Slaughter of the Cleveland Browns. But back in June, when he was replaying the Redskin game tape, Irvin set aside thoughts of his earning potential and instead delivered a poignant reaction to one of the best games of his life. By nature a quote machine when he's around the press, Irvin has been known to boast about his talents. But he'd been watching himself on tape for 90 minutes, and the bragging had given way to a nuts-and-bolts commentary.

"It's tough to cover any wideout now," Irvin said, as he looked at his image freeze-framed on the screen. "I'm not fast by any means, but I know where I'm going, and I know how to use my body, and Darrell has to adjust to me. If the ball's thrown well, and I'm on anybody in single coverage, I'm going to catch it. So will most receivers.

"But we're getting more passes now. Every team's got that one serious, serious pass-rushing linebacker, and most offenses are using their tight end to try to help the line block him. And the running backs who used to catch a lot of passes have to stay in on third down to keep up with the blitzes and the stunts. Most times they don't even get to run routes out of the backfield. Teams are loading up to stop the run, too. They're using these eight-man fronts, with linebackers and safeties clogging the line. They rush guys, like [Lion nosetackle] Jerry Ball, who are as strong as an ox. You've got to have help blocking them. If you don't take care of these things, you're going to get your quarterback killed.

"You've got all these things happening around the ball," said Irvin in summary, "and if the quarterback wants to pass, he has to look upfield in a hurry. He has to go to his wideouts more."

So the receivers are good, and they're critical to the success of the offense. Nice marriage — and a necessary one. The receivers have to be exceptional because the overall quality at quarterback has stagnated. The five premier signal-callers in the game are Montana, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Warren Moon and Dan Marino. Their average age is 33, and none is younger than 30. Where are the promising young ones? Aikman, Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles and Chris Miller of the Falcons might represent the next generation of superior signal-callers, but they all have histories of injuries, and they have a combined total of one playoff win in 15 seasons. That outstanding new quarterbacks aren't coming along and that so many teams are continually on the lookout for even a good one make today's wideouts seem all the more skilled at catching the ball.
This shift to the Receivers Game began 15 years ago when offenses in the NFL went into an alltime snooze. In 1977 only two of the 28 teams averaged three touchdowns a game. The leading passer, Roger Staubach of Dallas, threw for only 2,620 yards. The average score for a Falcon game was 13-9. So after the season the owners made two significant rule changes to unchain offenses: 1) Linemen would be allowed to use their hands to fend off onrushing defenders. 2) Defensive players would be able to bump receivers only within five yards of the line of scrimmage. "The rule changes," says Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive coordinator Floyd Peters, "brought the little guys back into football. There was a place for the little guy because, except at the line, he couldn't get beat up anymore. For the secondary, the game became like basketball on grass. Quickness became everything."

It's easy to pick the premier wideout tandems. A poll of coaches, scouts and executives produced near unanimous results:
–The best one-two combination. Rice and John Taylor of the 49ers, in a walk. "Rice is in a world of his own, a freak of the game," says Lion assistant Dave Levy. "I'm not convinced that on some teams Taylor wouldn't be the better player," says former Niner scouting director Tony Razzano, who had a hand in drafting them both. A fearless blocker, Taylor has helped spring Rice on a few of his long scores. Even when Rice had his MVP game in Super Bowl XXIII, it was Taylor who caught the winning TD pass from Montana with 34 seconds to play.
–The best trio. Monk, Clark and Ricky Sanders of the Redskins. This one is a tough call, because Buffalo has developed a formidable threesome in Lofton, Andre Reed and Don Beebe. But the Washington guys are considered the toughest threesome in the league, while also being among the most explosive. Often the Skins use two tight ends to help protect the quarterback, which means Monk and Clark are double-covered on a lot of plays, but they still get open. Together, the three wideouts have averaged 209 catches a season in the last four years.
–The best foursome. When the Oilers lost Hill and Tony Jones to the Falcons via Plan B in the off-season, the distinction of having the best group of four receivers went with them. Atlanta already had so much depth that Hill probably wouldn't have started for his new team, but with Rison's holdout lasting into the first week of the season, Hill probably will join Mike Pritchard (50 catches as a rookie in '91) as the starting slot receivers in the four-wideout Red Gun formation, with Jones and Haynes on the outside. Meanwhile, in Houston, the Oilers can still hit you with Jeffires, Givins, Duncan and Leonard Harris. Not bad.

Sports Illustrated
Inside the NFL; Sterling Performance
November 16, 1992
Peter King

PACKER WIDE RECEIVER STERLING Sharpe is thrilled with the offense installed by new coach Mike Holmgren. "No reason he wouldn't be excited," says Holmgren, the former 49er offensive coordinator. "He knows he's going to get balls in this offense the way Jerry Rice got them in San Francisco." In a 27-7 loss to the Giants on Sunday, Sharpe, 27, caught 11 passes to vault into the league lead with 61 receptions after nine games. He's now on pace to break Art Monk's single-season record of 106 catches.

Here are the five 100-catch seasons in NFL history, and where Sharpe stands by comparison with seven games to play this year.
Player, Team Year Catches Per Game
1. Art Monk, Redskins 1984 106 6.63
2. Charley Hennigan, Oilers 1964 101 7.21
3. Lionel Taylor, Broncos 1961 100 7.14
3. Jerry Rice, 49ers 1990 100 6.25
3. Haywood Jeffires, Oilers 1991 100 6.25

Sterling Sharpe, Packers 1992 61 6.78

Sports Illustrated
Healing the Skins; Washington took a big step toward rebuilding a once-proud franchise by drafting strong-armed quarterback Heath Shuler
May 2, 1994
Peter King

The Redskins, as we know them, aren't the Redskins anymore. And their fans, as fervent a group as exists in any NFL city, are apoplectic. The case of wide receiver Art Monk, who was waived on April 6 when he wouldn't take a $500,000 slash in pay, cut deep. The Redskins couldn't justify paying the 36-year-old Monk $1.1 million, even though he had caught 888 passes over 14 seasons for them. Logic supported the Redskins. The fans backed Monk, who at week's end was unsigned. Gayle Mansuy of Fairfax, Va., called the release of Monk "greedy and unconscionable" in a letter to The Washington Post. "Today is a day I never thought I'd see — today I peel the 'SKINS sticker off my bumper."

Washington restructured and renegotiated 24 veteran contracts to shave $5.9 million off its 1994 salary load. Approximately $15 million more was saved by waiving or relinquishing the rights to those 13 veterans, much of the nucleus of the great Redskin teams of the past decade. The $1.5 million annual salary of front-seven cornerstone Charles Mann, age 33 and the survivor of nine knee operations, was deemed too extravagant. Joe Jacoby and Jeff Bostic, with 27 combined seasons as Hogs, also had to go. And quarterback Mark Rypien, coming off two subpar seasons after piloting the Skins to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI — and knowing that he would have his successor breathing down his neck all year — chose not to stay when Casserly asked him to take a cut from $3 million to $1 million. He, too, remained unsigned.

Complicating reconstruction matters was the fact that despite employing four scouts to appraise NFL talent, Washington had seen its 1993 crop of free agents bomb. So the Redskins cut three of those free agents in the off-season: Carl Banks, the outside linebacker who couldn't make the adjustment from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3; defensive end Al Noga, who had a grand total of four sacks last year; and wideout Tim McGee, a 39-catch disappointment who was deactivated for Washington's final two games even though he was healthy.

Casserly and owner Jack Kent Cooke have had only a few months to do what it has taken Detroit years to do with the automobile industry: downsize while improving the product to keep pace with the competition. "No one has a greater respect for what this organization and those players accomplished than I do," says Turner. "But the reality of pro sports is that no one player or coach is bigger than the place. And the reality of this situation is that this team went 4-12 last year. When you looked at that and the climate of the game today, you knew we had to change things."

Casserly had Washington's four pro scouts make depth charts of free agents at each position. The Redskins rated Arizona Cardinal outside linebacker Ken Harvey as their No. 1 target at any position — although he had only 47.5 sacks in his 90 NFL games — and signed him right out of the free-agent chute in March for $11 million over four years. Defensive coordinator Ron Lynn believes that Harvey can be more productive as an every-down player in Washington than he was playing two thirds of the time in Phoenix. Washington also signed its top free-agent choice at tight end, former Raider Ethan Horton, and, in the interior offensive line, former Cowboy John Gesek. A serviceable wideout, Henry Ellard, a veteran of 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, came aboard. All these acquisitions, however, are long in the tooth, averaging more than 30 years of age and eight NFL seasons.

The salary cap prevented the Redskins from addressing all their needs. They still have gaping holes at fullback, in the secondary and along the defensive line. After signing Harvey, Washington had to give up its pursuit of expensive defensive ends Clyde Simmons and William Fuller, both of whom were in the $2.8 million-per-year range. The Skins set their sights lower, on free agent Jon Hand, who had spent eight years in Indianapolis. Still too pricey. Hand re-signed with the Colts for $1.7 million a year.

Now their sights went lower still, to the $700,000-a-year range. That doesn't buy much in the defensive-end market. It bought former Ram Tony Woods, who in seven NFL seasons has averaged one sack every six games. In the past the Redskins had always been able to purchase quality depth on defense. They won their last Super Bowl 27 months ago in large part because Cooke could afford to do things like spend $533,000 a year for broken-down defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers, who gave the team 20 solid plays a game. Those days are gone.

A year ago Casserly hired former New England Patriot general manager Joe Mendes to be Washington's full-time expert on the salary cap and a part-time scout. Casserly had been advised by counterparts in the NBA — particularly Washington Bullet general manager John Nash — that a full-time capologist was essential. In Mendes the Redskins have a 17-year NFL scouting veteran and a numbers cruncher who gives Casserly daily updates on where the team stands in relation to the cap.

The players seem bitter about the cap, although the ones who have been released by Washington have not, for the most part, ripped the organization. Some say that the new reality is ruining what was once a superb team. "The Redskins aren't some emblem on the side of a helmet," Schlereth says. "The Redskins are Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Art Monk, Charles Mann, Mark Rypien. I worry about the quality of the game. How's an offense going to develop any cohesion when half the starters change every year?"

Schlereth and many other Redskins blame the NFL Players Association for the Skins' plight. "I don't see how we can fight for free agency for seven years and then in essence give it away by agreeing to the cap," says Schlereth. "I put the blame for our problems directly on the NFLPA."

Sports Illustrated
NFL '94 Preview: AFC East
September 5, 1994
Peter King

Strange team, the New York Jets. Ten years ago Art Monk was 27 and was setting a then NFL record of 106 catches for the Washington Redskins; Ronnie Lott was 25 and the best secondary player in football; and Nick Lowery, then 28, was in his fifth season as a premier kicker. Now each of these guys — along with 34-year-old defensive tackle Bill Pickel — is the oldest NFL player at his position, but they are keys to a team that is fighting to make the playoffs.

Sports Illustrated
Inside the NFL; Dispatches
December 12, 1994
Peter King

Not to demean the accomplishments of Art Monk, the classy Jet wideout who will try to break Steve Largent's record of 177 consecutive games with at least one reception this Saturday against the Lions, but how meaningful is that mark? An offense averages 60 or so plays a game, about half of which are passes. Monk has been a starter for much of his 15-year career, and most first-string wideouts get five to eight balls thrown to them each game. For Monk to catch at least one pass in every game he has played is interesting but no huge achievement. It's the football equivalent of Roger Clemens getting at least one strikeout in 177 consecutive starts. Big deal. . . .

Sports Illustrated
October 20, 1997
Inside the NFL; An Influx of Young Talent Has Given the Game a Shot in the Arm
Peter King

In the Patriots' 33-6 rout of the Bills on Sunday, quarterback Drew Bledsoe completed four passes to his favorite wideout, Terry Glenn. Linebacker Ted Johnson had a team-high nine tackles on a defense that limited Buffalo to 242 yards. And Curtis Martin rushed for 99 yards, barely missing his 15th career 100-yard game. All of the aforementioned players are 25 or younger. All have either played in Pro Bowls or are on the verge of doing so.

The Patriots' youth movement is not unique. In fact, the league is enjoying a player renaissance. A scant three years ago, as many of the game's megastars–Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, Ronnie Lott and Art Monk, to name a few–were on the verge of flaming out, the woe-is-football signs were everywhere. Where would the much needed infusion of fresh talent come from? "The talent was lagging," New England coach Pete Carroll says. "But now you look at the league, especially at quarterback. I think it's pretty clear the young guys are back."

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday October 11, 1999
Peter King

I think the expectations of players about making the Pro Football Hall of Fame are way out of whack, and the media just fuels this. Last week, someone mentioned to me, " Andre Reed just caught his 900th ball. Guess he's a sure Hall of Famer.'' There are no numbers, in my opinion, that make you an automatic Hall of Famer. I mean, if you have rotten numbers, that hurts you, obviously. But just because you play in an era when the ball's in the air all the time and you catch a huge number of balls, that doesn't make you automatic for the Hall. Yesterday, I saw Terance Mathis catch his 500th ball. The guy could easily end up with 650 or 700 catches. But he'll never be in one conversation about Hall of Fame induction. Why is 900 such an automatic number for Hall entry among receivers? Art Monk 's over 900, and I have major reservations about his credentials to stand alongside the greats of the game. Now, as one of the 36 selectors for the Hall, I'm not saying Reed won't make it. But the receiver numbers are going to be so inflated by 2005, or whenever he is eligible, that 900 catches might not even put him in the top five.

Sports Illustrated
NFL Mailbag
Thursday October 14, 1999
Peter King

You write this week: "Art Monk 's over 900 [career catches], and I have major reservations about his credentials to stand alongside the greats of the game." So are you saying you would not vote Monk in the Hall of Fame? I am interested in your reasoning, as I believe he was the prototype for the big, strong receivers we see today and thrived as a clutch, durable player in the Redskins run-first offenses under Joe Gibbs. He also at one point held three major receiving records (most career catches, catches in a season and consecutive games with a reception).
—Tod Alan, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

That's right. I do have major reservations on Monk's credentials for the Hall of Fame. I believe I'm right on the statistical data that I'm about to quote. A few years ago, when Monk was in his last season, I started doing a little bit of research on him and I was shocked to see that, despite his high number of catches, Monk had led his own team in receiving in just six of 16 years as an NFL player, and that he was voted All-Pro in only two of 16 years. To me, membership in the Hall of Fame is a tremendous privilege and honor. I will not say here or in any public place before Monk is considered for the Hall whether I believe he belongs, because as one of 36 selectors I don't give my opinion on whether a player should or should not be in before we enter the meeting. After the meeting, I'll be happy to give my opinion. I'm just saying right now I will need to be persuaded when Art Monk comes up for the Hall of Fame that he belongs. I think fans sometimes have a hard time in separating somebody who they think belongs in the Hall of Fame with someone who might belong in the Hall of Very Good.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday August 05, 2002 
Peter King

a. Memo to Mel Kiper: You say Art Monk should be a lock for the Hall of Fame, and you say you can't figure a single reason why he hasn't been voted in. I'm a voter. Here's why: Monk played 16 NFL seasons. He was All-Pro twice. He led his team in receiving six times in 16 seasons. I covered the Giants in the mid-‘80s, and they respected Gary Clark and feared Clark far more than Monk. Yes, he caught more than 900 balls. In 10 years, he'll be about 15th on the all-time receptions list. Classy guy, wonderful person off the field — but neither of those things can be factored in when we consider qualification for induction. Monk belongs in the Hall of Very Good, not the Hall of Fame.

b. For all of you who think there are so many deserving players not yet in the Hall, rest easy. There are enough new voters, young guys who aren't as selective in the voting process, to ensure that the classes are going to be chock-full of candidates who've been close but haven't made it over the years. Last year, John Stallworth, Ron Yary and Jack Youngblood — who'd been through 37 years, collectively, of being turned down — all got in. My opinion is that softer isn't better, but I'm just one of 38.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday August 19, 2002
Peter King

The Hall of Fame stirs such passion. So many strong feelings, so many opposing feelings. I was scorned in Pittsburgh for years for not supporting Lynn Swann. I've scorned some of my fellow voters for not supporting Bill Parcells. Mel Kiper scorned me last week for not supporting Art Monk.

I have heard all the arguments pro and con on borderline guys. If the history of pro football cannot be written without Candidate X, he has to be elected. If he was among the best player or two on a team that won a couple or three championships, he has to be elected. On the other side, if he plays only five or six years, he cannot be elected, no matter what his contribution was.

This is what I've learned in my time on the Hall board:

You cannot be absolute. Monk's the fourth-leading receiver of all time, but I don't support him because he played 16 years, led his own team in receptions six times, and didn't strike fear into the opposition. I think a player has to have a combination of impact on a game, historic numbers and longevity. Winning helps. Championships help. He can overcome the longevity stuff by tremendous physical gifts and/or highlight plays for the ages. Gale Sayers did.

Terrell Davis belongs where Art Monk belongs — in the Hall of Very Good.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Saturday January 25, 2003  
Peter King

I know there are a lot of you out there who feel that the Hall of Fame voting is handled stupidly by a bunch of know-nothing sportswriters. I must say that thought has crossed my mind as well a couple of times over the years. But trust me when I tell you this today: The reason fan favorites such as Ken Stabler and Art Monk didn't make it is because other guys were better in the eyes of 38 people who tried to leave all personal and football prejudices at the door and do the best job for football.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday February 03, 2003 
Peter King

YOU'RE WAY OFF ON ART MONK. From Mark Tuben of Fairfax, Va.: "What is the argument against Art Monk for the Hall of Fame? He has held several NFL records, and he was a reliable and constant contributor to three Super Bowl-winning teams. I understand there is an argument that his average yardage per reception was low, but we are talking about 940 receptions. That's what I want from a Hall of Fame player: reliability and spectacularly consistent play. I can't imagine the logic that works against Monk."

My rationale on Monk: First of all, as one of the 38 electors of the Hall, I voted for Monk when we 38 electors whittled the field from 14 to 10 on the first vote nine days ago. I thought he was more deserving than four of the candidates on the ballot. But I did not vote for him after that. I covered the Giants in the '80s, and they were always more concerned with the impact Gary Clark and the running game had on the outcome of games than they were with Monk. Also, Monk played 16 years in the NFL. He was voted All-Pro one time. He led his own team in receptions six times. That's not good enough for me, and that's why I think he belongs in the Hall of Very Good.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
January 17, 2005
Peter King


"It's legalized theft, a crime, that Art Monk is not in the Hall of Fame. Those voters ought to be absolutely ashamed of themselves.''

— ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury.


I'm one of the voters, Sean. And I'm not ashamed at all. Over the past few years, there's been significant outrage over Monk not getting into the Hall of Fame. Salisbury's feelings are shared by many. Mel Kiper has raked me over the coals a time or two on this one. How can the 39 guys who sit in judgment of the merit of retired players think that Monk didn't do enough to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame, particularly when he had more receptions than any of the 17 current receivers enshrined in the Hall?

Since I get a lot of mail on this particular issue every year, I want to spend a couple of minutes going over Monk's case. At the end, you may think I'm wrong, but at least you'll know my reasoning.

It's a complicated situation, at least from my standpoint, but I'll start by explaining a couple of things about the voting system. Monk is one of the 15 finalists for the Hall this year, as he has been the last several years. We elect a minimum of three and a maximum of six to the Hall each year. There is a winnowing process that cuts the list to six in the room, and then the 39 voters are asked to vote yes or no on the final six. To make it, a player either has to have 80 percent of the vote, or in the event that fewer than three get 80 percent of the vote, the players with the most votes up to three are then elected. And so, if Monk makes it to the final six, basically, he needs to have at least 31 of the voters go his way. Eight no votes can squash a finalist, and obviously, he's had at least eight no votes every year he's come before the board of selectors. I am certainly not the gatekeeper. I have voted yes on Monk when the Hall asks us to cut the list from 25, and then to 15, in advance of the meeting, because I do think he is worthy of discussion, and I think he's one of 15 most deserving candidates in a given year — which is different from thinking he's a Hall of Famer. But I have voted no on Monk each year he has gotten to the final six. These are the reasons:

1. I think numbers should be considered significant, but shouldn't be the god of election to the Hall. And they should be put in perspective. This says everything about why statistics alone shouldn't put people in the Hall of Fame: The year Jerry Rice entered football, 1985, there were four players with 600 career catches in NFL history. Today there are 34. Monk led the NFL in receptions with 940 when he retired after the 1995 season. Since then, four receivers have passed him. One of them is Andre Reed, who I also consider to be a marginal Hall-of-Famer. In the next few years, others will get into the 900 range: Marvin Harrison, Isaac Bruce, Jimmy Smith, maybe even Keenan McCardell (755 now, and he wants to play two or three more years). Think of the receivers who haven't turned 32 yet who could get to 900ville: Terrell Owens (31, 669 catches), Eric Moulds (31, 594), Muhsin Muhammad (31, 578), Randy Moss (27, 574). Torry Holt's 28. He's got 517. Four more years in that offense, and he's in Monk's neighborhood statwise. In other words, in the 30-year window between 1980 and 2010, a dozen guys, or more, could pass 900 catches. We can't elect them all. There has to be some positional integrity to the Hall of Fame. I believe that Redskins-era team, for instance, should have three offensive Hall-of-Famers: Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby and John Riggins (though Riggins was obviously on the early side of that era), along with the offensive mastermind, Joe Gibbs. Two are in now. I hope at least one of the linemen makes it.

2. Monk was about the fourth-most dangerous skill player on those teams. I covered the New York Giants for Newsday from 1985-'88, and I remember covering a lot of those great Giants-Redskins games. And the guys in that locker room really respected Monk as a consistent player who gave a great effort on every play. But they feared Gary Clark. To a lesser degree, they feared Ricky Sanders. And they feared the run game, whoever was toting it on that particular day. If you stopped the run, and you stopped the fast, quick guys on the outside, the Giants felt, you'd beat the Redskins every time. I started covering the NFL in 1984, and I saw much of Monk's career. Some of what he did was unseen and important to the success of that offense. He was an excellent blocker downfield. That helps his candidacy. It doesn't get it over the top, at least not to me.

3. Monk was the not considered one of the very best receivers of his era either by his peers or the media. He played 16 years. Twice he made the AP's All-Pro Team, which honors the top two receivers in football. He never made the second-team. So twice in 16 years the media considered Monk to have had one of the top four seasons by a receiver in football. Three times he was named to the Pro Bowl. That means three times in 16 years his peers thought he'd had one of the top four seasons by a receiver in the NFC. Those facts are significant to me. We're saying no to guys who made 10 Pro Bowls. Mick Tinglehoff was an All-Pro center seven times, more than any center in history, and five times more than enshrinee Jim Langer … and that guy can't come close. Think of it this way: Eight wide receivers go to the Pro Bowl every year. In three of 16 NFL seasons Monk was judged to be one of the top eight. Is a Hall of Fame player one considered one of the top eight at his job three times in 16 seasons?

One of the interesting things this time of year is listening to the passion of people advocating for their favorites for the Hall of Fame. I respect the opinions of the Monk side very much, but I don't believe he was a Hall of Fame football player. I just thought you'd like to know the feelings of one of the 39 people in that room.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
January 18, 2005
Peter King

MONK AND THE PATS. From Paul Malovich of Watertown, Mass.: "Just wanted to make a comment on your Hall of Fame explanation about Art Monk. One of the reasons you say you do not vote for him is because of his few Pro Bowl appearances. However, isn't the Pro Bowl more of a popularity contest than a true measure of a player's value? Look at how few Patriots made the Pro Bowl this year. Don't hold it against Tedy Bruschi because Ray Lewis is in his conference."

Paul, there is never one reason why I'd eliminate a guy from consideration for the Hall. If you add up the reasons for me voting against Monk, which I elucidated in MMQB this week, there's a collection of reasons.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday February 7, 2005
Peter King

Will Art Monk ever get in? Problematic. My views on Monk have been well-documented (I am not a Monk supporter), and he didn't make the cut to the final six. This means, almost certainly, that 10 or more voters in the group of 39 don't think he belongs. That number could be 15 or 16; we don't know as voters, because exact totals are never released to us. Even if I was replaced in the room by Dan Snyder, I can't see the result for Monk being any different. Monk's plus is a big one: when he retired, he was the leading pass-catcher ever, with 940 receptions. But over the last 20 years, the number of receivers with 600 or more catches has risen from four to 34, and so a good deal of voters in the room think, How important is the total of receptions? What may doom Monk is a perceived lack of impact with the great running game the Redskins had and the other deep-threat receivers like Gary Clark in the Joe Gibbs era, plus the fact he was all-pro twice and a Pro Bowler three times in 16 years. My feeling is Monk will have a very hard road.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Tuesday May 17, 2005
Peter King

1. I can't vouch for the other 38 voters. I can only tell you what I think, and I know I have no bias against any player or any team when it comes to Hall voting. "Bias'' is an interesting word. Just because I vote against Art Monk does not mean in any way that I'm biased against him. I just feel he belongs in the Hall of Very Good, not in Canton. Paul Zimmerman may have heard in the room that some voters are biased against Irvin for his off-the-field problems or for his bombastic role on ESPN, but that is something I didn't catch. We are told that only on-field exploits are open for judgment, not what happens to a guy at midnight during the week. Might some voters hold his wild off-field life against Irvin? Could be, but I never heard any of the 39 voters say his vote was going to be affected by it.

2. I don't believe the Cowboys, more than any other team, are under-represented in the Hall. I voted for Wright all the way last year, the same way I voted for Irvin all the way this year. But I've also voted for other guys who don't get in (Russ Grimm and Harry Carson being the most notable ones these days). The Cowboys made it to five Super Bowls during a nine-year period, and 10 people from those teams are in the Hall. Let's exclude the short-timers, such as Herb Adderley, and say that seven bedrock Cowboys from those teams have made the Hall. Compare that to the team from the next generation that was as good, and maybe better historically, than Dallas. San Francisco, over a 14-year period, made it to five Super Bowls and has four people from that era in the Hall. So why don't I hear the same rabble-rousing from the Charles Haley, Randy Cross and Roger Craig advocates that I do constantly from Dallas?

3. The only logical argument for more Cowboys is the epidemic of Steelers in the Hall. I can't defend some of the Pittsburgh choices, because quite frankly, I wasn't in favor of some of the Steelers choices, like Lynn Swann. Just a personal feeling. But the Hall historically has favored players from Super Bowl winners. Pittsburgh was 4-0 in a six-season span. Dallas was 2-3 during a nine-year run. San Francisco was 5-0 in their 14-year spell, which makes the lack of Niners ever more noticeable. And look at Washington, 3-1 in Super Bowls in a 10-year run but just two Hall members — John Riggins and Joe Gibbs. I'd buy the argument that Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Matt Millen and Darrell Green all deserve their day before our committee.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Monday May 23, 2005
Peter King

So who's getting the shaft? No team, hugely. But I think three franchises have a case about having too few guys in the Hall.

The Joe Gibbs Redskins' only HOFers are Gibbs and John Riggins. But thanks to their 3-1 Super Bowl mark in 11 years, it's only a matter of time (unless we voters are a bunch of foofs) before Hogs Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby knock hard on the Hall door. I won't support him, but there's still a lot of love out there for Art Monk, who retired as the leading receiver of all time.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Tuesday December 20, 2005
Peter King

I LOVE ROD SMITH. From Matthew of San Francisco: "What are your thoughts on the NFL's most underrated player, Rod Smith?  The undrafted, consummate pro and self-made star, quiet, workaholic. Is he a darkhorse candidate for the Hall of Fame?''

Great question. In my opinion he is and he's someone I'll think long and hard about. He's productive, clutch, a great blocker … sort of an Art Monk with significantly more explosiveness and big-play ability. The other night against Buffalo, he looked like the best player on the field, didn't he?

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
February 6, 2006
Peter King

The Fine Fifteen

8. Washington (11-7). Dan Snyder put out a statement Saturday critical of Art Monk not getting into the Hall of Fame. That really helps, Dan.

Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think these are my quick-hit thoughts of the Hall of Fame voting:

a. The guy I got ripped most for before the voting was Art Monk, because I don't support him.

d. Heard two media guys talking in the media center Sunday. Guy one: "Monk got screwed again. Ridiculous.'' Guy two: "I say it all the time — if you screw guys in the press and don't talk to them and treat them like crap, it'll come back to haunt you.'' Absurd, absurd, absurd. No factor. In fact, Monk is admired for his dignity, soft-spokenness and class.

e. For all of you who follow such things, I heard a "Hey, Peter'' Friday night at the hotel. I looked over and there was Joe Theismann. We've had a tad of a disagreement over Monk, and Theismann told Dan Patrick that I had too much control over the room. Totally silly, of course; I'm one of 39. Out of respect for Theismann's stature, I brought his main points about Monk into the room on Saturday morning. It did no good. Monk didn't make the cut from 15 to 10.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Before Moving Ahead, One Final Look Back
By Leonard Shapiro

The main knock on Monk is that opposing defenses feared Gary Clark and the Riggo running game more than they did Monk. It's an argument that's been made very publicly by my friend Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who was the beat guy covering the N.Y. Giants for Newsday on Long Island when Monk was in his prime in the 1980s. The Giants back then had a defensive coordinator named Bill Belichick — remember him — who devised various schemes that often effectively shut Monk down in an era when the Giants also dominated the Redskins.

I'm not telling tales out of school here; Peter has made his views very well known in his writings and broadcast appearances. He doesn't think Monk is a Hall of Famer because he didn't play like a Hall of Famer against the Giants, when King was watching. That's his opinion, and I respect the man and the opinion. I don't agree, but he's certainly entitled to it.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback
Hall of Fame game
Monday, February 13, 2006
Peter King

How does Harry Carson get in this year, in the toughest class in a long time, when he couldn't make it the last few years against lesser competition?

Good question. In fact, this was an odd class to me. A very good class, but an odd one. Each year when I go into the room the day before the Super Bowl to vote on the Hall of Fame class — I'm one of 39 selectors; this was my 14th year doing it — I have a notion of how the voting will go. And invariably I'm wrong. This year, for instance, I was sure Warren Moon wouldn't get in. I said so on HBO. Just proves you never know what's going to happen until you get in the room. And I was sure Thurman Thomas would get in. I had him third on my list of 15. And he didn't make it. The way the system works is that we vote for 10 of the original 15. Then the field is narrowed to 10. Then we vote for six of the 10. Then the field is narrowed to six. Then we vote yes or no, individually, on the six.

"What happened with Thurman?'' former Bills GM Bill Polian, now with the Colts, asked me last Friday. I gave him a long answer about how Troy Aikman and Reggie White were locks, and John Madden and Rayfield Wright, the senior candidates, were either going to get in now or perhaps never because seniors come up one year and then not again for a long time. Then, after those four, there was a big morass with Thurman, Moon, Carson, Bob Kuechenberg, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, Derrick Thomas and others. The short answer was: I don't know. I still don't, other than this was a tremendous class of candidates, 13 of whom I would have voted yes had they made it to the final six.

Sports Illustrated
Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition
Hall squall
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Peter King

NOW THAT CARSON'S IN, IT'S MONK TIME. From Stephen of Chantilly, Va.: "Peter, your article about Harry Carson was wonderful. You really understand how certain players who are extremely integral to super teams don't get recognized because they didn't get all the glamour stats or press. Which is why I really think you are not an honest voter. All the arguments and characteristics you praise about Carson in this article could also be made for Art Monk in relation to his Redskins super teams. From role player, coaching praise and teammate praise. If you just don't like Monk, just say you're biased and stop. Please don't make illogical reasons for him to not be in the Hall of Fame when you clearly recognize Carson-type accomplishments for the Giants. You really lose all credibility to me since you're not only a biased writer but one who likes to unfairly lower the accomplishments of a truly deserving player like Monk.''

Thanks for writing, Stephen. It's interesting being a voter. If I don't vote for a certain player, then I have some bias against him. You and the other Monk supporters should know — not that you'll believe me — that I have no bias whatsoever against Monk. He was a very good and unselfish football player. I have a lot of admiration for him.

There are quite a few differences between Carson and Monk, I believe. And not just in my opinion, but in their peers' opinions. Monk was voted to three Pro Bowls in 16 years. Just three times in 16 years did his peers consider him one of the four best receivers in his conference. Carson was voted to nine Pro Bowls in 13 years. Carson was the major reason why the Giants had the best run defense in the NFL for a seven- or eight-year period. I don't think you can say the presence of Monk on Washington's offense — with a great deep threat like Gary Clark, with consistently good running backs, with a great offense line — equated to Carson's impact on the Giants' D. Well, maybe you can, but I can't.

And for all of the Monk supporters who think I'm the guy keeping him out of the Hall of Fame, just know that there are at least eight of the 38 other voters who have not voted for him — and I think it's quite a few more than that given that he can't make it through the cut from 15 to 10.

RYAN, DO YOU HAVE A COUSIN NAMED STEPHEN IN VIRGINIA? From Ryan McKeon of Athens, Ga.: "Great comments on Harry Carson, who was exactly the kind of hard-nosed, unflashy player that teams need to win. Now my hope is that somebody makes a similar argument to you regarding Art Monk that you made to Cliff Christl. If Harry Carson was putting teams in second-and-9 a lot, Art Monk was catching a lot of 10-yard passes on those second-and-9 plays. That's important to a team too, unspectacular though it may be.''

Excellent point, Ryan.

May 9, 2006

Dave Goldberg

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 11:30 am

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Dave Goldberg is an "Unknown," so with 35 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

4 No; 16 Yes; 15 Unknown/Maybe

Dave Goldberg has been covering the NFL for the Associated Press for a while and votes for the AP on the committee.  It's hard to tell where he stands on Art Monk.

Los Angeles Times
September 1, 1991
Bills Seem to Be Alone at Top of NFL Class
Dave Goldberg

The Redskins? Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders have been the best receiving trio in the NFL for the past five years. But the offense is still build around the offensive line as Joe Gibbs continues to re-create John Riggins with Earnest Byner and Gerald Riggs.

Hamilton Spectator
January 24, 1992
Bills, 'Skins have offensive threats
Dave Goldberg

Ricky Sanders of the Washington Redskins, who has set some Super Bowl records himself, looks with awe at James Lofton and Art Monk.

"They're like my grandfathers," he says. "That's what they are. Grandpas."

The Redskins and Buffalo Bills enter Sunday's Super Bowl with super sets of receivers, none more so than the 34-year-old Monk and the 35-year-old Lofton.

Each is within a couple of games of two of Steve Largent's career receiving records. Each is flanked by a remarkably similar duo that threatens to make Sunday's game into a shootout.

How similar?

Start with Lofton (Stanford) and Monk (Syracuse), the only two of the six to play Division I-A and the only two who were first-round draft choices. Monk, who has 801 career receptions, should pass Largent's 819 early next season, while Lofton is just 55 yards behind Largent's record of 13,089.

Continue with Andre Reed of the Bills and Gary Clark of the Redskins, two of the NFL's most dangerous over-the-middle threats and two of the best runners after a catch. Both went to small colleges (Reed to Kutztown State, Clark to James Madison). Both entered the league unheralded (Reed as a fourth-round draft pick in 1984 and Clark from the USFL). And both go to the Pro Bowl regularly.

"Not quite," Clark complains. "Andre goes to Hawaii every year. I just go once in a while."

And finish with two more small-college guys, Buffalo's Don Beebe (Chadron, Neb. State) and Washington's Sanders (Southwest Texas State). They're the speed guys.

Sanders is best known for his 80-yard reception in 1988 that started the Redskins' 35-point second quarter against Denver. He had 193 yards in that game, second only to Jerry Rice's 215 in the 1989 game.

Beebe, in his third season, had his coming out in the second game this year, when he caught 10 passes four for touchdowns, in a 52-34 victory over Pittsburgh.

Put all six together and they represent two of the best receiving trios in the league, approached only by Houston (Drew Hill, Haywood Jeffires, Ernest Givins) and Atlanta (Andre Rison, Michael Haynes, Mike Pritchard).

So Sunday's game has the potential to be high scoring, especially because both teams have running games that can control the ball.

"Both teams have a problem on defence," Washington head coach Joe Gibbs acknowledged yesterday as the players met with the media for the final time before the game.

"You have to decide if you defence the run or the pass. If you defence the run, both sides have three guys who can kill you."

There are differences.

Washington usually keeps seven, even eight players to protect quarterback Mark Rypien, then may flood a zone with Monk, Sanders and Clark.

Clark most often has a first-down play action target 15 or 20 yards over the middle. Sanders is a threat deep on the sideline, and Monk is the guy Rypien will find 11 yards down on the sideline when it's third and 10.

Running back Earnest Byner, who caught 34 passes, is the only other Washington receiver who's utilized regularly. Terry Orr, one of three tight ends, averaged 20.1 yards on 10 catches, four of them touchdowns.

The Bills, with their no-huddle offence, generally use the five offensive linemen to block and then throw to tight end Keith McKeller (44 catches) and running back Thurman Thomas (61 catches) as well as Reed (81), Lofton (57) and Beebe (32 in 11 games).

The Annapolis Capital
September 24, 2000
Doesn't get any easier for Skins
Dave Goldberg

Daniel Snyder was booed Monday night when he walked on the field at halftime to help induct Joe Gibbs, Art Monk and Dexter Manley into the Redskins' Hall of Fame.

Buffalo News
August 5, 2002
On the Road Again; Bills Fans Have More Hall Journeys Ahead
Mark Gaughan

Joiner, the former Bills assistant coach, ended his career as the No. 1 pass catcher of all time but had to wait 10 years to get in. Art Monk was No. 1 in catches at the time of his retirement (in '95) but didn't make it the last two years he was up for election. Lofton has been up for election four times and made the final 15 twice.

"It's no shame to not get in the first year," said Len Shapiro of the Washington Post. "There are so many great players up each year. Lynn Swann had to wait 14 years. Sam Huff had to wait 12. George Allen had to wait 25."

"There are a lot of receivers with really good stats from that era," said voter Dave Goldberg of the Associated Press. "Andre's one of them, but I don't know if he separates himself from the others."

MSNBC Sports
Nov. 21, 2004
Parcells, Gibbs should re-retire now; At 3-6, both teams tarnishing their coaches' reputations
Dave Goldberg

Let’s not sugarcoat it: Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs never should have returned to coaching and should get out as soon as they can to preserve their dignity and reputations.

Their teams, the Cowboys and Redskins, are embarrassments at 3-6 and aren’t getting better. All their coaches can do by staying is to tarnish their deserved place in football history.

Blame the owners, Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder, who certainly have had a hand in the failures, messing things up long before Parcells and Gibbs got there. But also blame two of the three best coaches of the 1980s for failing to adjust well to the 21st century NFL, with free agency, a salary cap and a different breed of players.

Gibbs won Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none close to being a Hall of Famer (Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien).

And with Beathard dealing constantly, the team had only two first-round choices during Gibbs’ tenure: Mark May and Darrell Green. Art Monk was taken in 1980, the year before Gibbs got there. May and Russ Grimm, a third-rounder, were the only high picks on the offensive line (“The Hogs”) that formed the heart of the team.

May 8, 2006

Jarrett Bell

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 11:55 am

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Jarrett Bell is a "Likely Yes," so with 34 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

4 No; 16 Yes; 14 Unknown/Maybe

Jarrett Bell has covered the NFL at USA Today for more than 13 years.  He is a relative newcomer to the voting committee, and although he worked for the Dallas Cowboys during the 80's, it sounds like he supports Art Monk for the Hall of Fame.

USA Today
August 6, 1993
Monk takes disappointment in stride
Jarrett Bell

Just like old times, Art Monk lined up in the Washington Redskins' three-receiver sets and gracefully went about his work.

Showing little emotion, Monk made his route-running appear smooth and easy – trademark for a 14-year veteran with more career catches than any other player in NFL history.

Business as usual? Not completely.

"I was a little tense, a little uncomfortable coming into camp," Monk said during a rare interview after the morning workout. "I think it was because of everything that happened in the offseason with my situation. But I've kind of settled down."

In 13 seasons, Monk, 35, started 188 games for the Redskins and had 847 catches. Yet four months ago he was stripped of his starting job – without so much as stepping on the field.

"I guess you can say I'm a little hurt, disappointed," Monk said. "Then again, I understand the game. It just depends on what kind of approach you take. Obviously, I was a little disappointed, but I didn't get down. I still kept an upbeat, positive frame of mind.

"I know what I can do. I know what my capabilities are. I just have to come in and prove myself, which is what I always have to do anyway."

Monk says he's prepared for the worst, that he probably won't be in the starting lineup – or perhaps even in a Washington uniform – when the regular season begins Sept. 6 against Dallas.

He'd rather view it otherwise, but has maintained a realistic outlook.

"Whatever happens, happens. It really doesn't matter how I feel," said Monk, whose 46 catches (644 yards, three touchdowns) in 1992 marked a career low for a full season – yet mirrored problems the Redskins' offense had. "I have no control of anything. So I can't base anything off my emotions. It just has to be whatever they decide to do. My only attitude is just to come in and do the best I can."

The Redskins have a revamped offense, with younger, faster Ricky Sanders, Desmond Howard and Tim McGee penciled in for featured receiver roles. In principle, Monk (he will earn basically the same $ 1.1 million he did last season) understands the evolution.

But it pierces at Monk's pride that his job wasn't lost during a traditional training camp battle.

"It's just the nature of the game," said Monk, working in the No. 3 slot as Howard recovers from a pulled groin muscle. "It doesn't matter what you've done. It doesn't matter who you are. They are going to do what they want to do, and what they feel is best for you."

The rap on Monk, never a speed-burner, is that he's lost a step and isn't as effective separating from the cornerbacks. This charge, which he says the Redskins never directly told him, seems particularly irritating. "I'm the same as I've always been," Monk said. "I've never been a good release man off the line of scrimmage. Never."

Coach Richie Petitbon, who spoke openly about desires for more speed at receiver during a spring minicamp, says he has been impressed with Monk's camp. Like others, he spoke highly of Monk's conditioning.

"The guy's in great shape," marveled Sanders, one of Monk's closest teammates. "He's dropped about 12 pounds (to 205). He looks like the same ol' Art, running like an antelope. When the heat of the battle comes, Art Monk will stand up. He'll be there."

Monk clearly sees the writing on the wall, an aging athlete being ushered to the door. Yet despite widespread belief that he'll wrap up his career this season, Monk refuses to think of this season as a curtain call.

"This will not be my last year, not as far as I'm concerned," he said. "Maybe, next year. . . . I don't know. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it."

USA Today
July 26, 1994
New Jet Monk just getting off the ground
Jarrett Bell

Despite 14 seasons, 205 games and an NFL-record 888 career catches, Art Monk feels like a rookie again with the New York Jets.

After so many training camps in Carlisle, Pa., with the Washington Redskins, Monk is reprogramming himself for even the most basic aspects of training camp life.

Times and locations for team meetings don't come automatically anymore. And after Sunday's opening session, Monk sought directions from a security guard for a place to eat.

"It feels like I'm starting all over again," says Monk, who signed a one-year, $ 675,000 contract last month to extend his career after an unceremonious split with the Redskins. "This is unfamiliar territory, kind of like you're the odd guy on the block."

Monk says it "felt funny" putting on the Jets' green helmet, but New York hopes he quickly finds a comfort zone in an offense seeking to upgrade its receivers' output.

The Jets have penciled in Monk to start opposite Rob Moore. But they consider him as valuable for the impact he might have on youngsters such as No. 2 pick Ryan Yarborough and fourth-round pick Orlando Parker.

"The effect he'll have in future years," quarterback Boomer Esiason says of Monk's tutelage, "is probably more important than what he'll have immediately."

Esiason, traded from Cincinnati in '93 after nine seasons, can relate to Monk. As Esiason did, Monk is returning home. Monk grew up in White Plains, N.Y., and his wife, Desiree, is from Queens. There's also plenty of motivation after 14 years with the Redskins.

"I think he comes in here like I did last year, with something to prove because you've been discarded by a team you've played your heart out for," says Esiason. "You tend to have a chip on your shoulder."

Says Monk: "Change can be for the better or for the worse, but I don't like to take anything for granted. So I'm just going to prepare myself and not worry about trying to do well. I'll just do the best I can and let whatever happens happen."

Monk says his departure from the Redskins was disappointing. "I wish I could have stayed and finished my career there," he says.

The split, however, runs much deeper than new Redskins coach Norv Turner succeeding Richie Petitbon. Monk haggled with Redskins management for years before Turner arrived.

"It was long before Norv ever got there," Monk says of differences with management. "I met with him a couple of times before it happened, and I was under the impression he really wanted me there. But he wasn't able to make that decision."

Monk has been left to learn terminology and make adjustments on routes. He's encouraged by 40-yard dash times in the 4.5 range and also is discovering new surroundings and expectations can be akin to finding a fountain of youth.

"This is pushing me," says Monk, who started just six games last year. "It makes me step up to another level that I really haven't been on in a while."

USA Today
September 1, 1995
Gotta hand it to 'em, receivers rule the air
Jarrett Bell

Led by Rice, the NFL's all-time TD-maker with 139, raw numbers are further proof of wideout domination. To wit:

— Although Charley Hennigan's season record of 1,746 receiving yards has stood since 1961, the mark for catches already has been broken three times in the '90s. Before Art Monk's 106 in '84, Hennigan's 101-catch mark lasted 20 years.

— Through 1989, just three receivers in NFL history had caught 100 passes in a season. In the '90s, seven 100-catch seasons already have been posted.

"Teams are relying more on high-percentage passes," says Carter, mindful of pass-first schemes such as the West Coast offense, which relies heavily on dink passes. "That's why the yards-per-catch averages are down, even though catches are up. Good teams used to run 40 times a game. Now, it's switched around."

Liberalized rules and better athletes also are factors.

"The game is faster," says '50s-era San Francisco 49ers receiver R.C. Owens. "There are more plays, more balls in the air. This gives receivers more chances than in my day. I don't know that they catch better, but they're faster."

USA Today
June 18, 1997
Ex-Redskins receiver Monk retires after 16-year career
Alan Kreps & Jarrett Bell

Wide receiver Art Monk announced the end of his record-setting, 16-year career in the NFL on Tuesday.

Monk retires with 940 receptions for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns, most coming in his 14 years with the Washington Redskins. Washington will re-sign him so he can formally retire as a Redskin.

"I consider myself more fortunate than most who have played the game," said Monk, 39. "By God's grace, I have achieved far more than I ever could have imagined. I've had a wonderful career, and I will miss the game."

Monk's 940 all-time receptions rank second to San Francisco's Jerry Rice. He was named to three Pro Bowls (1984-86) and was a member of three Super Bowl-winning Redskins teams.

He was selected 18th overall in the 1980 NFL draft out of Syracuse and made the all-rookie team.

Monk signed with the New York Jets in 1994 and set the league's consecutive-games reception record with at least one catch in 183 games. He finished his career the following season with Philadelphia.

Monk plans to remain in the Washington area. He is a principal owner of an advertising agency in Chantilly, Va., and also is co-founder of a nonprofit organization, the Good Samaritan Foundation, which helps provide job skills for inner-city youth.

"Through the Good Samaritan Foundation, I will continue to work with the hopes of changing the lives of our young people and families within the inner-city communities of the Washington Metropolitan area," Monk said.

Year  Team         No. Yards  Avg.  TD
1980  Redskins     58    797  13.7  3
1981  Redskins     56    894  16.0  6
1982  Redskins     35    447  12.8  1
1983  Redskins     47    746  15.9  5
1984  Redskins    106  1,372  12.9  7
1985  Redskins     91  1,226  13.5  2
1986  Redskins     73  1,068  14.6  4
1987  Redskins     38    483  12.7  6
1988  Redskins     72    946  13.1  5
1989  Redskins     86  1,186  13.8  8
1990  Redskins     68    770  11.3  5
1991  Redskins     71  1,049  14.8  8
1992  Redskins     46    644  14.0  3
1993  Redskins     41    398   9.7  2
1994  Jets         46    581  12.6  3
1995  Eagles        6    114  19.0  0
      Totals      940 12,721  13.5 68

USA Today
September 20, 2000
Washington under siege High-priced, 1-2 Redskins say this is not time to panic
Jarrett Bell

Monday night was supposed to be a coming-out statement game on national TV. It came complete with an excessive pregame show — fireworks, gaudy introductions and Navy parachutists landing on the field. And there was a classy halftime act, when former coach Joe Gibbs, Art Monk and Dexter Manley were enshrined into the team's Ring of Fame.

But the whole thing fizzled with the result: Washington's sixth consecutive loss to Dallas.

USA Today
February 11, 2004
Competition to get stiff for Football Hall of Fame classes
Jarrett Bell

"The next couple of years we'll see more and more first-time eligibles," says Joe Horrigan, Hall vice president of communications, "as players whom contemporary football fans are very familiar with are due for consideration."

That might not be good news for nominees such as Art Monk, Harry Carson and Lester Hayes, among top-10 finalists in each of the last two years. Consider several candidates for the next two Hall of Fame classes:

USA Today
Monday, September 19, 2006
Chat Transcript
Jarrett Bell

Rosslyn, VA: Hey Jarrett! I've sent this to you and your colleaagues before and you've never responded, likley since it was such a long question. So let me slim it down. Who are your five to ten players of all time in the NFL who don’t get their due? I’m talking about non-HOF’ers who were great players, but history does not seem to remember them as quickly as they should. Here are mine: John Brodie, Earl Morall John Hadl, Norm Bulaich, Matt Snell , Chuck Foreman, Jerry Smith, Stu Voigt, Mick Tinglehoff , Bob Kuechenberg, Dave Butz , Charlie Krueger, Claude Humphrey , Art Monk, Henry Ellard , Jimmy Orr . 

Jarrett Bell: Great question, the type that often hounds me as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. Here are some folks I've argued for or otherwise feel are deserving to be Cantonized… Bob Hayes Michael Irvin Rayffield Wright Drew Pearson Everson Walls Cliff Harris And that's just the Cowboys division. Others: Art Monk Joe Jacoby Russ Grimm Hey, I've got Cowboys and Redskins tonight And… Derrick Thomas Claude Humphrey Fred Dean Harry Carson Carl Banks Tommy Nobis Ken Anderson Mick Tinglehoff Roger Craig Non-players: Art Modell Ralph Wilson And there will be more to come as some deserving people get bypassed here in the next few years, with outstanding candidates such as Reggie White, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon and Thurman Thomas up for nomination. 

USA Today
Monday, January 9, 2006
Chat Transcript
Jarrett Bell

Chicagto, Ill.: Based on the "No Name" talent of the Patriots over the last several years, and the unbelieveable run they've had and are continuing to make. Is Willie McGinest, with is record setting sacks in post season indicative of becomming a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame. Aaron O'Brien 

Jarrett Bell: A Hall of Fame lock? That's pretty strong. But as a member of the selection committee, I'd think that McGinest is a guy who will get a lot of consideration. … One thing that bugs me: The term "future Hall of Famer" is overused. I've been on the committee for nine years, and the process makes it the toughest Hall to get in of any of the sports, I believe. I mean, Derrick Thomas and Michael Irvin couldn't get in last year. Art Monk is still waiting. It took Lynn Swann and John Stallworth forever. And there's no Bob Hayes in the Hall, not to mention Rayfield Wright. Only quarterbacks tend to be "locks" for the Hall, and we'll see if that applies this year to Warren Moon. But I thank you for that observation and the inspiration.

May 7, 2006

David Elfin

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 11:34 am

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  David Elfin is "Fighting for Art Monk," so with 33 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

4 No; 15 Yes; 14 Unknown/Maybe

David Elfin has covered the Washington Redskins since the 80's for the Times.  He has even written a few books about the Redskins.  Needless to say, he's fighting for Art Monk's induction into the Hall of Fame.

He represents the Pro Football Writer's Association on the committee, and he's only there for two years.  2007 will be his second and last year on the committee, so it's another reason why Art's best chance may be this year.

The Washington Times
August 1, 1989
Monk ends his silence as part of 'Posse' pact
David Elfin

Defensive end Charles Mann emerged from the locker room after the first veterans practice of Washington Redskins training camp with his eyes and mouth wide open in disbelief.

"Look. It's 'The Posse,' " Mann said, laughing and pointing at receivers Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark, who have bestowed that nickname on themselves and were conducting group interviews. "And Art's talking! Wooo!"

That's right. Monk, who has mastered the art of silence with print reporters since 1982, is speaking this season, but only with fellow receivers Sanders and Clark at his side.

Apparently, all three will be chatty this season, but only as a trio, in hopes of adding to team unity and to the marketing of whatever "Posse" items they come up with – T-shirts, hats, maybe even a music video.

"We've been talking about it since the Super Bowl [in January 1988]," said Clark, who was the only one wearing "Posse" garb yesterday. "We're out to break everything. Our goal is for two of us to be in the Pro Bowl. We don't think anybody can cover us. When we're at our best, we think we can play as well as anybody ever has. We can't take any hostages. We have to capture what we lost a year ago."

The Redskins fell from Super Bowl champions to also-rans last season, but not because of Monk, Sanders and Clark, who combined for 204 catches and 24 touchdowns.

Both Sanders and Clark credited Monk for much of their success and now they have gotten their buddy to talk again.

"I'm not much of a talker, you guys know that," said Monk. "But I can handle this. . . . I've never been a very outspoken person. I don't go out much. And that tends to carry over to the field. I don't like a lot of attention, a lot of publicity. I just like to stay in the shadows and do my job."

Few have done it better. Monk needs just 15 catches to become the NFL's eighth all-time leading receiver but has only made the Pro Bowl twice in nine years. He said he has never minded the lack of notoriety.

"I know my capabilities," said the 31-year-old Monk, who has 576 catches, including a record 106 in 1984. "I would be crazy to say [moving into the top 10] doesn't mean anything to me, but I think in terms of team accomplishments."

The Washington Times
December 6, 1989
Monk & Taylor; Redskins' receivers linked by history
David Elfin

Charley Taylor has been thinking a lot lately about a scouting trip he made to Syracuse in 1979.

"I was supposed to look at a defensive back and a running back who could be switched to receiver," said Taylor, then a Washington scout and now the Redskins' receivers coach. "I was looking at the DB when I heard these hoofbeats behind me. It was a running back returning punts. Then I was introduced to him. It was Art Monk. I watched him all that day and then I talked to him for a while and watched some game films. I came back and said we had to take this guy. There was no doubt we had a steal."

The Redskins took Monk on the first round of the 1980 draft, and Taylor's judgment has proved to be very accurate.

Thirteen games into his 10th Redskins season, Monk has 642 catches, leaving him seven short of third place on the NFL's all-time list. The man currently holding that spot is Taylor.

"I would much rather have Art pass me up than anybody else," said Taylor, who made the Pro Bowl eight times in his 13 Redskins seasons and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. "He's such a professional. It's been a pleasure to work with him the past nine years. Sure, Art had to make the same adjustment that I did from college running back to NFL receiver, but I don't take any credit because people say Art plays like me and I've been his coach."

Monk, however, gives Taylor plenty of credit.

"If it wasn't for Charley, I wouldn't be where I am right now," Monk said. "Charley knows a lot of the little ins and outs of the trade. He's very helpful in giving me tips on how to do certain things to make myself a better player. It will be a great compliment if I can pass him. Just to be in his company is an honor."

Taylor shakes off such praise as easily as he used to lose defenders but concedes a resemblance between the Redskins' No. 42 of the 1960s and 1970s and No. 81 of the 1980s.

"Art looks like me after he catches the ball," Taylor said. "That's when he comes alive and says, 'Keep your hands off me.' But other than getting him to work on his feet, Art didn't have to be taught. He was a natural."

So was Taylor.

"Charley was an athlete. I never played with anybody quite like him," said Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, who now broadcasts the Redskins' games. "Charley could do what he wanted. He was a playmaker. I just wanted to get the ball in his hands."

That was equally true of Jurgensen's competitor at quarterback, Billy Kilmer. In the club's biggest game in 27 years, the 1972 NFC Championship against Dallas, it was Taylor whom Kilmer hit for the game's only touchdowns in a 26-3 triumph.

Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who played with both, felt the same about Monk.

"Art was always the guy I looked for when we were in trouble," said Theismann, who threw the 1975 pass that made Taylor the NFL's all-time leading receiver at the time. He also was the quarterback in 1984, when Monk's 106 receptions set an NFL single-season record.

Theismann: "Art bailed me out of more jams . . . The year he caught 106 a lot of people forget that in the last game against St. Louis, which we had to win to make the playoffs, Art caught 11 passes [for 136 yards]. And he made the biggest play of the game on fourth-and-20. Art got 21 [and the Redskins won 29-27]."

Monk's abilities in the clutch were never more evident than two Sundays ago, when he caught nine passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the Redskins' 38-14 victory against the Chicago Bears.

"Art's being mentioned for the Hall of Fame doesn't impress me as much as the catches he made [against the Bears], the way he went up to get a couple of those balls in a game we had to have," said quarterback Doug Williams. "Art is probably in better shape after 10 years than any receiver I've ever seen. How many 30-year-old guys get mad when they run a 4.5?"

Indeed, Monk, who turned 32 yesterday, is having his best season in four years with 66 catches, a 13.7 average and six touchdowns. As a testament to his consistency, Monk has caught passes in 97 consecutive games (105 including playoffs). Similarly, at 31 in 1973, Taylor had his most productive season in four years with 59 catches, a 13.6 average and seven touchdowns.

Monk is 6 feet 3 and his 209 pounds are distributed over his lanky frame. Taylor was 6-3 and weighed 210, with a similar build.

Taylor was an all-America running back at Arizona State and the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1964, when he rushed for 755 yards and set a record for running backs with 53 catches. He was switched to receiver in 1966 and led the league in catches the next two years.

Monk, who ran for 1,140 yards and caught a then-school record 102 passes at Syracuse, broke Taylor's Redskins rookie receiving record in 1980. Four years later, he made those 106 catches and led the NFL again in 1985 with 91.

And when Bobby Mitchell sees Monk, he thinks of Taylor.

"If you didn't put the names and numbers on the backs of their jerseys and sent Art and Charley on 10 patterns in the course of a game, I think you would have a hard time deciding who was who," said Mitchell, the Redskins' assistant general manager and himself a Hall of Fame receiver. "Both were consistent and durable. Neither had blinding speed. You could outrun them in a race, but put them on a football field and it's a different story.

"And both Charley and Art have that sixth sense. You know how some people, when they're driving, are able to think ahead and know what's going to happen in front of them? That's what both Art and Charley had on the football field, that knack of thinking ahead."

The Redskins were thinking ahead when they drafted both Monk and Taylor. Although Monk immediately became a receiver, Theismann noted that he still runs more in the herky-jerky manner of a running back. And Taylor was switched to receiver after two years to take some of the pressure off Mitchell and because, as Jurgensen said, "Charley used to outrun his blockers [as a running back]."

Theismann said Taylor was more fluid in his patterns than Monk. Jurgensen said Monk is a more disciplined pattern runner than Taylor. But they agreed that both are extremely strong.

"I remember one time against Dallas, Charley caught a pass across the middle and two or three Cowboys hit him, but he bounced off them, spun around and went 40 yards for a touchdown," Mitchell said. "He could hit people and tear their heads off."

Jurgensen said Taylor had a mean streak that Monk doesn't have, but Theismann said Monk was like Taylor in being at his best once he caught the ball.

"And both those guys would really launch themselves for the ball," Theismann added. "They had no respect for their bodies. If they dived for the ball and got their hands on a pass, they were going to come up with it."

Monk never complains about not being thrown to enough, with Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark also on hand. But Jurgensen said Taylor demanded the ball, although he played with Pro Bowlers Mitchell and Jerry Smith.

Now that Monk has moved up into the highest echelon of receivers, the question is how long he'll keep playing. Taylor spent 1976 on injured reserve and retired a year later at 35 after his chronically sore left knee limited him to 14 catches.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs says Monk's work habits are as good as any player he's ever been around and "he'll probably play until he gets bored."

After he passes Taylor, Monk will still be 100 catches short of retired Chargers star Charlie Joiner and 160 or so behind all-time leader Steve Largent, who's retiring this month from the Seattle Seahawks. Monk has said he doesn't think much about breaking Largent's record or making the Hall of Fame, but Taylor said his protege is just as competitive.

"That's bull about Art not caring about the record or the Hall of Fame," Taylor said. "We're all in this profession to be the best. I see Art playing a long time still. I don't think anything can stop him but himself."

The Washington Times
December 18, 1989
Play of the Game: Art Monk's 60-yard Touchdown Catch
David Elfin

The Redskins played a first half against the Atlanta Falcons that won't make anyone's highlight film and trailed 27-10. But in the second half, the Redskins were a new team, fueled by Art Monk's 60-yard catch and sprint for a TD early in the third quarter. Here's how it unfolded. Monk (81) lined up in the slot on the right side, drawing coverage from the Falcons' Scott Case (25). With QB Mark Rypien executing a play-action fake into the line, Monk headed upfield about 15 yards before cutting across the middle with Case way behind. The middle was open because Atlanta safety Tim Gordon (41) had dropped deep, with his back to Monk. Rypien delivered the ball at the Atlanta 45, and Monk sprinted down the sideline for the touchdown. The Redskins still trailed (27-17) but had seized momentum and later went ahead to stay.

The Washington Times
January 24, 1992
Catching On; Bills have a trio that mirrors Posse
David Elfin

Consider the parallels:

* For much of 1989, Washington's Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders only did interviews as a group so each would get the same amount of attention. Buffalo's James Lofton, Andre Reed and Don Beebe regularly have dinner together the night before a game.

* The 35-year-old Lofton has 699 career catches, the fourth-most in NFL history. This season, Lofton, who has an industrial engineering degree from Stanford, caught 57 passes, his most since 1986, for a career-best eight touchdowns. He was chosen for his eighth Pro Bowl, his first since 1985.

The equally lanky 34-year-old Monk has 801 career catches, the second-most in NFL history. This season the thoughtful Syracuse graduate caught 71 passes, eight for touchdowns. A national high school hurdles champion, Monk, like former NCAA long jump champion Lofton, does his best work along the sideline.

Lofton, who is just 55 yards shy of Steve Largent's yardage record, described himself as "old," but Monk said he's amazed that Lofton has been able to retain his world-class speed after 14 NFL seasons. Bills offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda raved about the ability of both receivers to beat much younger cornerbacks down the boundaries.

While Monk and Lofton cruise toward the Hall of Fame and Clark and Reed head in that direction, Sanders and Beebe are looking for a share of the spotlight on Sunday.

The Washington Times
January 27, 1992
One thing was certain this night: The Redskins had the best team
David Elfin

Art Monk owned the first quarter. Gary Clark ruled the third. Ricky Sanders made the day's best catch for 41 yards. The Posse is one of the big reasons the Redskins are champs again.

The Washington Times
January 27, 1992
Levy concedes, says Redskins are better than Bills
David Elfin


An apparent first-quarter touchdown reception by Washington's Art Monk was disallowed after the instant replay showed his left foot was out of bounds.

It was the first Super Bowl touchdown to be reversed, and the call also produced the first scoreless opening quarter since 1977. It was also the first time a team had been shut out in the first half since Cincinnati trailed San Francisco 20-0 in Super Bowl XVI.

* 6 – Number of Redskins to play on all three Super Bowl winning teams (Art Monk, Don Warren, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Monte Coleman).

The Washington Times
July 30, 1993
Monk back in stride ; Veteran says he still believes in himself
David Elfin

Monk laughed when asked if he shaved his head last weekend in order to get faster. Unlike the coaches, he doesn't think he's lost a step.

"I feel great, and my weight is down to 205 [from 210]," Monk said. "I never had great speed. I never had great quickness. I always got the job done. I've never been the great downfield receiver [which is why he has just 62 touchdowns among his 847 catches]. I was always in the right situations. It [the demotion] definitely spurred me on to really prepare myself for this year. I've always been in great shape, but this is probably the best shape I've been in for a long time. I want to still be able to run and keep up with the rest of them and do all the things I've always done.

"I don't need to show them [coaches and management] anything," Monk added. "There's really nothing for me to prove. I'm going to work hard like I always do, do the best I can and let them make the decisions. "


Art Monk's career highlights:

1976-79 – Caught 102 passes for 1,644 yards, rushed 1,140 yards and gained 1,105 yards in returns at Syracuse.

1980 – First-round draft pick by the Redskins. Set club rookie record with 58 receptions and named to NFL all-rookie team.

1984 – Caught 106 passes to set NFL season record. Voted team MVP and named to the first of three straight Pro Bowls.

1985 – 91 receptions were second in NFL.

1987 – Caught 40-yard pass in Super Bowl XXII victory.

1989 – Became club's all-time leading receiver, passing Charley Taylor's 649.

1991 – Became NFL's second all-time leading receiver in leading Redskins to Super Bowl XXVI victory.

1992 – Became NFL's top career receiver, passing Steve Largent's 819.

The Washington Times
April 7, 1994
Monk, Redskins part after 14 years
David Elfin


The legacy of Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk, who will not return for the 1994 season:

* NFL's all-time leading receiver, with 888 catches

* Receptions in 164 consecutive games through '93 (2nd all-time)

* Played on three league champions, four conference champions

* Three-time Pro Bowl pick

The Washington Times
October 27, 1995
Monk still in shape, hopes to land a job
David Elfin

Monk wasn't re-signed by the Redskins in 1994 when he balked at a huge pay cut. By the time he lowered his price, Washington had signed Henry Ellard so Monk went to New York. Although he caught 46 passes for 581 yards and three touchdowns last season, the Jets opted not to re-sign Monk and went into the season with 79 career catches among their wide receivers.

"I was a little surprised, but the emotions weren't the same as when I left Washington," said Monk, one of six Redskins to play on all three of their Super Bowl-winning teams. "I was very disappointed, downhearted, frustrated and confused then. But I look back and I know I did more than I ever thought I would. I couldn't catch the ball to save my life when I got to Syracuse. I know one day my figure will be way down the totem pole, but I can say I had the record at one time. What do I have to complain about?"

So the usually taciturn Monk was able to enjoy it when his induction into the Syracuse University-Washington, D.C. Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday night turned into a roast/testimonial for a retired star.

NFL senior vice president Val Pinchbeck read a letter from Paul Tagliabue in which the commissioner wrote that he looked forward to being with Monk at his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Redskins assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell, a Hall of Fame receiver himself, jokingly warned Monk not to bump into his bust as he strolled the hallways of the shrine in Canton, Ohio.

The Washington Times
November 1, 1995
Redskins should give Monk a shot
David Elfin

But where can the Redskins find a veteran wideout this late in the season? How about in Great Falls?

Art Monk, the leading receiver in Redskins and NFL history with 934 catches, has been working out three hours a day since the New York Jets opted not to re-sign him this past winter.

Just last week, Monk told The Washington Times that he still hoped to hook on with somebody to catch the 66 passes he needs to become the first receiver to catch 1,000.

And the bitterness that Monk felt 18 months ago when he spurned a $500,000 pay cut and Washington signed Ellard to replace him has dissipated. Monk still considers himself a Redskin and can't see retiring as anything else, even if only for one of those ceremonial one-day gigs such as running back Roger Craig and San Francisco celebrated in 1994.

Sure, Monk will be 38 next month, but he never needed much speed to get open on those 10-yard down-and-outs. Monk is also ultra-reliable. He played in his final 119 straight games, including postseason. Linebacker Marvcus Patton has Washington's longest streak with 82 in a row, dating back to the 1990 playoffs when he was with Buffalo.

The other top available receiver is former Annandale High School and Virginia Tech star Ray Crittenden. His numbers in two years with New England are 44 catches, 672 yards and four touchdowns are roughly what Monk produced in his 16th season. Monk caught 46 passes for 581 yards and three touchdowns in 1994 while extending his string of consecutive games with a catch to a league-record 180. And Crittenden's ailing knee scares NFL personnel types.

Signing Monk would also help bind the wounds caused by the unpleasant departures from Washington in the past three-plus years of such key Redskins as Gary Clark, Mark Rypien, Brad Edwards, Danny Copeland, Andre Collins, Mark Schlereth, Earnest Byner and Ricky Sanders.

Also, attendance at RFK Stadium, which averaged 54,946 in 1992, coach Joe Gibbs' final season, averaged 51,246 last season. Attendance is up to an average of 53,682 through five games this year, but the final three home games are against a boring Seattle team, Philadelphia on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (for which the Redskins have averaged just 45,024 the past two years against the Eagles and New York Giants) and 4 p.m. Christmas Eve against the expansion Carolina Panthers.

Monk remains the most popular local athlete since Sonny Jurgensen hung up his cleats in 1974. An extra couple thousand fans would surely come to see Monk wind up his Hall of Fame career in burgundy and gold. That would make owner Jack Kent Cooke more content with his team.

Yes, it would be hard to get Monk even his one streak-extending catch per game when Ellard and Westbrook return, but Monk seems sufficiently humbled by his exile from the NFL to not chafe at being the fourth guy. Monk's agent, ex-Redskin safety Brig Owens, said money wouldn't be an issue either with Washington tight against the salary cap.

However, the Redskins, after looking yesterday at such non-luminaries as Jeff Query, Wesley Carroll and Terrence Warren, decided to go with just Shepherd, Winans and Truitt against the Chiefs, gambling that Westbrook and/or Ellard will be healthy for the Seahawks on Nov. 19 after next week's bye. Rookie tight end Jamie Asher figures to be activated for the first time to give Frerotte another capable target.

But who would you rather have running patterns, the too-weak Truitt, the too-raw Asher or Monk, whose 12.6 yard average last season at age 36 was just three-tenths of a yard behind the team-best average of Pro Bowl teammate Rob Moore?

The Washington Times
September 1, 1996
Giving up the proud sounds, sights of RFK
David Elfin

"I've played in every stadium there is," said Art Monk, a Redskins receiver from 1980 to '93. "One thing that's always been said about the Redskins is that we have the greatest fans in the NFL. I really feel that way. They just don't support you and cheer for you win or lose. They're educated. They know the game. It makes a big difference."

The Washington Times
December 20, 1996
At RFK Stadium, one more for the road; Next season, Redskins relocate to the house that Jack Kent Cooke built
David Elfin

One could go on and on. Not only did Moseley set the record for consecutive field goals at RFK, but receiver Art Monk – a sure Hall of Famer – established the marks for catches in a career (against Denver in 1992) and a season (against St. Louis in 1984) there. And Theismann's career came to a sudden end at RFK in 1985 when his leg was broken on a tackle by the Giants' All-Pro linebacker, Lawrence Taylor.

The Washington Times
June 18, 1997
Monk announces retirement, wants to enter Hall a Redskin
David Elfin

For a man who once held NFL records for catches in a season and in a career and for most consecutive games with a catch, Art Monk never had much of an ego.

Others may have reveled in the limelight, but Monk shunned it. So it wasn't surprising that when Monk officially announced his retirement yesterday, he didn't do so at RFK Stadium or Redskin Park with a brass band playing "Hail To The Redskins." Instead, the 39-year-old Monk quietly hung up his pass-catching gloves at a news conference at the downtown offices of Charles Brotman Communications.

"In my mind, I've been retired for over a year, but people kept asking me if I was retired, so I decided to make it official publicly," said Monk, whose career actually ended when he broke his left arm after making a catch for Philadelphia on Dec. 24, 1995, two years after the final game of his 14-year tenure with the Washington Redskins. "I trained and rehabbed for a while after I broke my arm, but I didn't want to chase people around to ask them for a job, so I decided it was time to move on to other things."

Monk's still hurt that he didn't play his entire career in burgundy and gold, but he's not as angry as he was in the spring of 1994 after he spurned a $400,000 pay cut from Washington and wound up signing with the New York Jets for the same $600,000 the Redskins had offered.

"It was disappointing not to have finished my career with the Redskins, but I realize that football is a business, and they did what they had to do," said Monk, who's talking to Redskins owner John Kent Cooke about returning to the roster for a day and thus officially retire as a Redskin. "I'll always be a Redskin. If I'm fortunate enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame, it will be as a Redskin."

The club feels much the same way.

"Nothing would delight us more than for Art Monk to officially retire as a Redskin," Cooke said in a statement. "We look forward to signing Art one more time so that he can go into the Hall of Fame as a Redskin."

Which only makes sense since it was as a Redskin that Monk broke Charley Hennigan's single-season record for catches with 106 in 1984 and Hall of Famer Steve Largent's mark for career catches with his 820th in 1992. Monk later broke Largent's mark for consecutive games with a catch while with the Jets in 1994.

Green Bay's Sterling Sharpe broke Monk's single-season record in 1992, and seven other receivers have since passed it. San Francisco's Jerry Rice topped Monk's career mark in the 1995 finale and can break the consecutive games mark this October.

But there's no challenging the greatness of Monk, who went to Syracuse as a halfback and left there as a receiver good enough to be Washington's first-round draft pick in 1980, its first such selection in a dozen years.

Monk broke the club's receiving record as a rookie and went on to help Washington and Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs win three Super Bowls, capture four NFC titles and make eight playoff appearances. During the seven non-strike seasons from 1984 to '91, Monk averaged 81 catches, 1,088 yards and six touchdowns. And during his final eight seasons as a Redskin, Monk didn't miss a game.

Ironically, Monk said his highlight came in a game in which he didn't even play because of a broken foot, the 1982 NFC Championship against Dallas when Washington advanced to its first Super Bowl in a decade.

"I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a part of a great group of guys who were really committed to the game, who cared about each other and played for a great coach," said Monk, who now spends his work hours as the part-owner of the Cactus Advertising agency in Chantilly, the director of his self-titled football camp and as one of the founders of the Good Samaritan Foundation. "We had a great run."

The Washington Times
January 26, 1998
Favre and Elway provide rare fame-ous matchup
David Elfin

Pro Football Weekly came out with two controversial ratings last week: the top 100 players of all time and the top 50 of 1997.

The greatest ever were led by Cleveland running back Jim Brown, Baltimore quarterback Johnny Unitas, Chicago middle linebacker Dick Butkus, San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice and the eyebrow-raising Ronnie Lott, a cornerback and safety with the 49ers, Kansas City and Oakland.

The highest-rated Redskin was quarterback Sammy Baugh (49th). Others were receivers Art Monk (69th) and Charley Taylor (72nd), safety Ken Houston (73rd) and quarterback Sonny Jurgensen (74th).

The Washington Times
April 18, 1998
No 1st-round pick? That's a blessing for Washington
David Elfin

As a scout, Taylor saw in Syracuse receiver Art Monk (1980-93), a former halfback, the same combination of grace and power that had allowed him to make the same position switch so successfully. Monk, Washington's first first-rounder in 12 years, set the club rookie record for catches and went on to break the NFL's season and career marks during his 14 years as a Redskin. Monk's a sure Hall of Famer.

The Washington Times
September 29, 1998
Turner doesn't plan changes
David Elfin

After three injury-marred seasons, Michael Westbrook is finally putting up big numbers. The fourth pick in the 1995 NFL Draft leads the league with 418 receiving yards. Westbrook is the first Redskin to reach 100 yards in three straight games since Gary Clark in 1987. Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell (1964) and future Hall of Famer Art Monk (1985) hold the club's season record with six.

The Washington Times
January 13, 1999
Monk close to joining Redskins front office
David Elfin

Art Monk is on the verge of rejoining the Washington Redskins.

The team's greatest receiver and one of the most beloved Redskins isn't planning a comeback at 41. Instead, Monk is close to an agreement with Daniel Snyder, one of the franchise's owners-in-waiting, to join the front office in an undetermined capacity.

"I'm very confident that we're going to work something out," Monk said. "Dan and I have talked regularly over the last couple of months."

Snyder said on Monday that he had been in touch with Monk about joining their group. Monk said yesterday he plans to meet Snyder in a few days to figure out his role in conjuction with Snyder's partners, Howard and Edward Milstein.

"Working in the front office is something I've always wanted to do," said Monk, who is currently vice president and director of business development for an advertising firm in Chantilly. "I had intended to approach the previous owners the Cooke family about working for them, but then all of this happened."

As in the death of longtime owner Jack Kent Cooke in April 1997 and the franchise being put for sale by his estate last fall.

"It was tough to see the Cooke family lose the Redskins," said Monk, whom club president John Kent Cooke re-signed for a day in 1997 so that he could retire as a Redskin. "When Dan approached me, I told him I didn't want my name to get out because of my loyalty to the Redskins. I didn't want John to think I was competing against him."

Monk was a fearsome competitor on the field. His 940 catches and 183 consecutive games with a catch both rank second in NFL history. Monk is fifth all-time with 12,721 receiving yards. Washington's top draft choice in 1980 out of Syracuse, Monk set a club rookie record with 58 catches. Two years later he helped the Redskins to their first of three Super Bowl titles during his 14 seasons in Washington.

Monk caught a then-NFL record 106 passes in 1984, the first of three straight Pro Bowl seasons.

The Washington Times
November 10, 2000
Colts, Jets collide in Indianapolis, and this time it really will matter
David Elfin

Rams offensive tackle Jackie Slater, a first-time nominee, is one of seven players on the ballot who were voted to seven Pro Bowls. Another first-time nominee who might get in is Washington receiver Art Monk, who held the career receptions record from 1992-95.

The Washington Times
November 18, 2000
Nice catch, but how much is it worth? In today's pass-happy NFL, the measure of greatness among receivers is changing
David Elfin

In the first 12 years of the 16-game schedule (1978-89), only the Redskins' Art Monk caught 100 passes or more in a season. In the past five years, 13 players have done so. They include a fullback (Centers), a player primarily known as a kick returner (Eric Metcalf) and three wideouts (Brett Perriman, Robert Brooks and Terance Mathis), two of whom didn't even make the Pro Bowl.

The Washington Times
December 25, 2000
Coleman and Centers prove worth to Redskins once more
David Elfin

Robiskie feels so strongly about Centers that he ordered rookie quarterback Todd Husak to throw two late screen passes to the fullback so he could reach seven catches for the day and 80 for the season, which earned him a $250,000 bonus. Only likely Hall of Famer Art Monk ever caught more passes in a season for the Redskins (106 in 1984).

The Washington Times
July 3, 2002
From Green to Johnson, D.C. always cherishes its own
David Elfin


Painfully shy off the field and steady but not spectacular in his play, Monk might not have been admired in some towns. But in grind-it-out Washington, Monk – not flashier fellow receivers Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders – became an all-time favorite.

"Being loved by the fans goes beyond your performance on the field," said Monk, 44, who set many NFL marks as a Redskin from 1980 to 1993. "People react to how you conduct yourself on and off the field. They make a place in their hearts for you. A lot of it has to do with being here a while and establishing a relationship with the community."

The Washington Times
January 25, 2003
Monk at the door of shrine
David Elfin

Art Monk was the antithesis of current receivers like Keyshawn "Just Throw Me the Ball" Johnson, Randy "I Play Hard When I Feel Like It" Moss and Terrell "Watch Me Sign This" Owens.

At one point in 1992, Monk held NFL records for catches in a career, a season and consecutive games. But those accomplishments were never the point for Monk, who starred for the Washington Redskins from 1980 to 1993.

Washington, which hadn't reached the postseason in the three years before his arrival as its top draft pick out of Syracuse, got there eight times during his 14 seasons. The Redskins have been to the playoffs just once in the nine years since they cut Monk in 1994.

"A lot of guys have it backwards," Monk once said. "They want to do well and hope their team does well. I believed if the team did well, the individual things would take care of themselves."

Now the greatest "individual thing" of all could happen for Monk today. He is a finalist for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This is the third straight year Monk has been a finalist, and his chances probably have never been better. Between four and seven of the 15 finalists will be elected, and only former Los Angeles Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs running back Marcus Allen is considered a lock.

Also on the ballot are defensive ends Elvin Bethea and Claude Humphrey, linebackers Harry Carson and Randy Gradishar, guards Joe DeLamielleure and Bob Kuchechenberg, cornerback Lester Hayes, receiver James Lofton, quarterback Ken Stabler, coach Hank Stram, owner Ralph Wilson, general manager George Young and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman.

Monk's three Pro Bowls were the fewest of the 12 eligible players, but only Stram could match his three championships. And though the NFL has become pass-happy since Monk retired in 1995 after a year with the New York Jets and another with Philadelphia, he's still fifth all time with 940 catches and ninth with 12,721 receiving yards.

"Art had great hands, ran great routes and was a big, physical receiver who could surprise you with his speed," said Tampa Bay receiver Keenan McCardell, Monk's teammate in 1991. "He caught every ball that was thrown to him. I learned a lot from Art. He was the ultimate competitor, a no-nonsense guy. I loved the way Art prepared himself. He was always about business. He didn't look for a lot of press. He just did what he was supposed to do."

Typically, Monk set the season record of 106 catches by making clutch grab after clutch grab during the game-winning drive that clinched the NFC East title for the Redskins in the 1984 finale against St. Louis.

Not counting safety Paul Krause, who spent most of his career with Minnesota, the last Redskins player elected to the Hall of Fame was running back John Riggins in 1992. Coaches Joe Gibbs [1996] and George Allen [2002] have been chosen in the interim.

The Washington Times
February 5, 2005
Ex-Redskins Grimm, Monk among finalists
David Elfin

Receiver Art Monk arrived in Washington in 1980, and guard Russ Grimm followed the next year. During their 11 years together, the Redskins made the playoffs seven times, went to four Super Bowls and won three championships. Today Monk and Grimm are united again as two of the 15 finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Monk, 47, who retired as the NFL's leading all-time receiver with 940 catches and a record streak of 183 games with a catch, is a finalist for the third consecutive year. Monk, let go by new Redskins coach Norv Turner in 1994, has been involved in business ventures since his retirement after the 1995 season.

Grimm, 45, was chosen for four straight Pro Bowls before injuries began to plague him in 1988. He retired after the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI and immediately became an assistant to coach Joe Gibbs. Grimm, now Pittsburgh's offensive line coach, is a finalist for the first time.

Neither was a flashy player. Monk was the master of the 10-yard out pattern and as reliable as they come, but he scored just 68 touchdowns. Grimm used his superior strength and smarts rather than top-notch athleticism to succeed in the trenches.

The Washington Times
December 19, 2005
Injured Thomas to miss rest of season
Ryan O'Halloran, David Elfin and Jon Siegel

Redskins receiver Santana Moss beat Dallas with touchdown catches of 39 and 70 yards just 71 seconds apart late in the fourth quarter of Week 2.

So there was no way the Cowboys would let him beat them again yesterday. They did keep Moss out of the end zone, but he set up two first-half touchdowns with a 42-yard bomb and a screen that he turned into a 31-yard gain.

"I don't think I have their number," Moss said. "Dallas has a better defense than a lot of teams, but I think they were like, 'We're not going to worry about this guy all the time. We'll roll our coverage when we need to.'

"And when they singled on me, I ended up getting by [cornerback Aaron Glenn]. I had a touchdown, but they didn't give it to me. At least I set up two touchdowns."

With 75 catches and 1,240 yards, Moss is having the most prolific season by a Redskins receiver since Art Monk caught a team-record 106 passes for 1,372 yards in 1984.

May 6, 2006

Leonard Shapiro

Filed under: Voter Articles — DjTj @ 11:26 am

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  Len Shapiro is "Fighting for Art Monk," so with 32 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

4 No; 14 Yes; 14 Unknown/Maybe

Len Shapiro has been writing for the Post since Art Monk was drafted.  He has presented Art's case before the committee, and he is probably more disappointed than anyone that Art hasn't gotten in.

The Washington Post
August 31, 1980
Third Annual Redskins Poll
Leonard Shapiro

Art Monk, the Redskins' No. 1 draft choice, picks the NFL's top rockies in 1980.
1. Billy Simms, Detroit running back
2. Lam Jones, N.Y. Jets receiver
3. Mike Haynes, N.Y. Giants cornerback
4. Anthony Munoz, Cincinnati tackle

Art Monk signed a million-dollar contract. How did he spend some of the cash?
1. a new house in Arlington
2. a new Mercedes
3. clothes
4. (future) a house for mom Brad Dusek's day-after-game routine
1. hot bath, whirlpool, ultra-sound treatment
2. morning nap
3. luncheon engagement
4. afternoon nap
5. rest, rest, rest

The Washington Post
September 2, 1986
Redskins: 50 Down and Future to Go
Leonard Shapiro

In 1985, the Redskins went 10-6 but did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1981. Theismann broke his leg and never returned, leaving the team to Jay Schroeder, a second-year quarterback who had never started an NFL game. Wide receiver Art Monk continued to be the offensive star, catching 91 passes after an NFL record 106 in 1984.

The Washington Post
October 18, 1991
Around the Dial
Leonard Shapiro

ARTFUL DODGER: Art Monk's disappearing act from the locker room following the Redskins' 42-17 victory over the Browns last week left reporters reaching for air on a day when Monk moved into second place on the NFL's all-time receiving list and had two spectacular touchdown catches. One of the media types looking for Monk was WMAL's intrepid Sonny Jurgensen, who pulled a few disappearing acts himself in his day.

Monk, a shy fellow who prefers to shun the spotlight, reportedly has been far more available to the media this season. But his no-show Sunday left a sour taste in some mouths. Said one local sportscaster: "It's just frustrating, that's all. I think people at home want to see what he has to say."

The Washington Post
December 25, 1991
Redskins Look to Shift Gears for Super Bowl Drive;
History Says Players Rise to the Occasion
Leonard Shapiro

"There's a noticeable difference in every aspect of the game in the playoffs," said former San Francisco offensive lineman Randy Cross, now a CBS-TV analyst. "The special teams guys care less about their bodies because they know they've got six months to heal. The hitting is harder, the holding is tighter and the good players become great.

"You put a guy like Art Monk on Monday night, and he'll be special. You put him in the playoffs, and he'll be even better than that. You know a guy like Ronnie Lott will try and take someone's head off coming over the middle. And a guy like Joe Montana moves into another category where no one's ever been before."

The Washington Post
December 4, 1994
Washington Is Past, Another Record's In View, And Art Monk Keeps Playing Football Like … A Pure Professional
Leonard Shapiro

For Art Monk, the bitterness is mostly gone now. He doesn't have much time to dwell on his fall from grace with the Washington Redskins, the ugliness of his final separation last June from the team he had served so well for so many years through so many big games and even bigger catches.

He is too busy now to brood over what might have been, too occupied with plying his trade as a highly valued wide receiver with the New York Jets, still very much alive in their quest for a playoff berth. Many of his new teammates will also say that Monk, with 37 catches for 474 yards and two touchdowns, has been one reason this 6-6 team still has a chance to go places, even as the 2-10 Redskins go nowhere except home for the holidays.

Monk also hasn't had much time to think about the National Football League record that is now well within his still-dependable grasp. On the road today against the New England Patriots, the league's all-time leading receiver can tie the mark of 177 consecutive games with at least one catch, held by former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Steve Largent, the new Republican congressman from Tulsa.

The next day, Monk will celebrate his 37th birthday. The following Saturday, in a nationally televised game against Detroit that would be far more appropriate at RFK Stadium instead of Giants Stadium, he almost certainly will have the record to himself.

"He should do it in Washington, yeah, no question," said Joe Gibbs, his coach for 13 seasons. "You know, I see him, and he just doesn't look right in green. It's a sad testament on free agency. I think he'd still be there if not for that and all the money issues. Art in green? No way."

But over the course of a 45-minute interview at the Jets' training center on Long Island last week, Monk insisted the record is not much on his mind, let alone the venue. The Redskins would have been on the road the next two weeks anyway at Tampa Bay and Arizona, though he admitted "doing it there [at RFK] would have been nice, but what can you do?

"I really don't think much about it. I don't want it to be a distraction for me. I know it's going to come. I'd rather just focus my energies on the game and do my best to help the team win. I don't want to just sit around thinking about it because I won't play well if I do."

Looking Back

Playing well has never been a problem for Monk, not from the first day he arrived in Washington in 1980 as a No. 1 draft choice from Syracuse to his most recent game, a tough loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. He had five catches for 105 yards in that game, setting up one touchdown with a vital third-and-long gem to keep one drive alive and another by going 69 yards to the Miami 4-yard line.

Ask the Jets about all the nonsense whispered about Monk at Redskin Park over the past two years — lost a step, can't separate from defensive backs, too old to play full time — and they laugh.

"I knew the first time I saw him here that he would make a huge contribution to this football team," Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason said. "Here's what happens when a new regime comes in. They try to disassociate themselves from the past. Hey, the same thing happened to me in Cincinnati. It's part of the business."

Monk said he still held out hope he could remain with the Redskins as late as only a few days before he signed with the Jets on June 3. He'd already met several times with new head coach Norv Turner and General Manager Charley Casserly, who offered him a $ 600,000 contract, about half of what he'd earned the previous year as a part-time receiver.

The Jets will pay him about the same, though fulfilling several incentive clauses could push him higher.

"I finally went and spoke to John Cooke [the Redskins' executive vice president and son of owner Jack Kent Cooke]," Monk said. "I expressed my desire that I wanted to finish my career there. But the answer I got was they didn't have any money left to sign me.

"I didn't want to sign anywhere else until I knew they didn't want me. They'll say I had every opportunity to sign, but there were a lot of reasons that kept me from doing it," though Monk did not elaborate. "After I met with Cooke, that was the last straw. I knew that was it."

Said John Cooke: "He did ask if there was any opportunity to come back. I said no because it was too late. Dad and I would never interfere with the decisions of our coach and general manager. At that point we had already signed [receiver] Henry Ellard. We had given Art the opportunity to come back. When he came to see me, I told him we didn't interfere. And it was too damned late."

Monk still believes the beginning of his end as a Redskin had its roots in 1992, Joe Gibbs's final season as head coach and a year in which he caught 46 passes, down from 71 receptions in '91.

"That's when it started," he said, "and me leaving was a combination of a lot of things that just made it real frustrating and agonizing. … At the end I just felt like I wasn't wanted or needed there any more. I just had to go."

Before the start of the '93 season, Monk was told by former coach Richie Petitbon he would serve as a backup.

But Monk said he does not blame Petitbon for his demotion, and still has only the highest praise for Gibbs.

Asked if he thought he'd still be playing in Washington if Gibbs were the head coach, he said, "My tendency would be to say yes. I don't know how much control he would have had in keeping me there, but the answer is yes."

Said Gibbs: "I look at character, and from the first time I started working with him, I knew he was morally sound. He cared about his family, his community and about himself. You never had to worry about him. He took a lot of pride in what he was doing.

"I also think he had a commitment to be great. Lots of times, late in games, some guys don't want the ball, they don't want the pressure. I always felt Art wanted the ball. He'd come over to me and say 'I can get it done.' "

Special Support

In the beginning, Monk said, all he wanted to do was make the football team.

"I didn't expect to play pro football," he said. "I loved the game, but never did I dream I'd get to this level. When I got drafted, it really was a big surprise to me. If you told me I'd be around this long, let alone a year or two, I'd never have believed it."

At first, he said, assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell, the man who initially convinced the Redskins to draft him No. 1, and Charley Taylor, for many years his position coach, convinced him he could play.

"Charley helped me on the field, Bobby off the field," Monk said. "When I first came here, Charley was a scout. I knew who they were, what they'd done as players. They'd pull me aside, told me what they thought I could do better, how to make a move, how to react. Bobby was more off the field. He talked about how I should handle myself. He really helped mold my character."

Ask Monk to single out one of a dozen quarterbacks who helped him to the brink of this latest record and his answer comes quickly.

"Joe Theismann, no question about that. We just seemed to hit it off. There was just something about him where we developed a real good relationship with each other. I knew Joe's every in and out on the field, how he would react to certain situations, and he knew me exactly the same way."

Said Theismann: "He exemplifies what a great player is. I don't think he ever missed a practice. He's the greatest football player I've ever known and I consider myself lucky to know him as a man and to play with him as an athlete.

"What the Redskins did to Art Monk two years ago was an insult. They benched him without giving him a chance to win the job. That hurt Art badly. He should have finished his career as a Redskin."

Instead, he will finish as a New York Jet, working not far from his home town in White Plains, a few miles to the north. Perhaps he will stop after this year. More likely, he said, he'll retire after the 1995 season. He said he still loves playing the game and like most athletes his age, will reassess after the season when he returns to the Great Falls, Va., home he shares with his college sweetheart wife, Desiree, and their three children, James (11), Danielle (10) and Monica (7).

They are all with him now, living in a rented house in Garden City, not far from the team's practice facility, not far from Desiree's native Queens. But Washington remains in their hearts and in their minds. Desiree said she was watching a recent game at home on TV when "Hail to the Redskins" was audible in the background. She said she started to cry.

Monk came back the week before Thanksgiving on an off day to distribute turkeys and all the trimmings to the needy in Washington and Northern Virginia. He is a tireless fund-raiser, a man who sponsors an "I Have A Dream" program with several former teammates, offering college scholarships to inner-city children if they'll stay in school.

"I miss Washington," he said this week. "I miss the people. My home will still be there, I'll still be there, I'll still be active there. I can't say enough about the fans. They've been there with me from the start. I don't just see them as fans, I see them as friends. They're very special to me."

As Art Monk is to them. Once in burgundy and gold. And now, even in green.

The Washington Post
December 11, 1994
For the Record, Monk Makes It 178 in a Row ; Ex-Redskin Gets Receptions Mark In Jets' Loss
Leonard Shapiro

It was difficult for Art Monk to smile much late this afternoon despite his momentous achievement four hours earlier. Yes, he caught a pass — three, in fact — for the 178th straight game of his illustrious career, breaking a National Football League record on what he described as "a very special day."

And yet, he also admitted following the New York Jets' dismal 18-7 loss to the Detroit Lions: "It's bittersweet. I'm excited about the record, but I'm disappointed about losing. I feel badly for my teammates; it was something we wanted real bad. It just kind of hurts."

For Monk, it was not that way early in the game. On the Jets' first play, he lined up split to the left and ran a simple pattern called "shallow cross" in the Jets' playbook, a short crossing route designed to give quarterback Boomer Esiason several options.

During the week, the Jets' coaching staff had discussed throwing the ball to Monk quickly, just to get the record out of the way, and that's precisely how it happened. He was open, Esiason buzzed the ball into his waiting hands and Lions linebacker Chris Spielman tackled him immediately after a modest gain of five yards 20 seconds into the game.

Then Spielman, one of the game's most ferocious players, helped Monk get to his feet, patted him on the helmet and joined players on both sides of the line of scrimmage in congratulating Monk on a streak that began in the fifth game of the Washington Redskins' 1983 season, with three catches against the Los Angeles Raiders on Oct. 2.

At that point, the game was stopped as Steve Largent, the former Seattle receiver whose record Monk had just broken, came out on the field. Largent, a newly elected congressman from Oklahoma, shook his hand, offered a few words of respect as the crowd of 56,080 provided a standing ovation and took the ball with him for safe-keeping, not to mention posterity.

Monk will keep the football for his trophy case back home in Great Falls, Va., and send the No. 81 Jets jersey he wore today to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he's eligible five years after he stops playing, enshrinement almost certainly will follow for a man who had 164 straight weeks with a catch as a Redskin before leaving Washington in a bitter parting as a free agent last June.

Today, Monk was asked how he felt about a ceremonial signing and retirement as a Redskin once he decides to stop playing, a possibility mentioned this past week by Washington owner Jack Kent Cooke.

"It depends on the circumstances," Monk said. "I'd rather not make any comment on that. I'm still playing. Right now I'm loyal to the Jets. But my door is open to any possibility. … I'm still excited about my job. As long as I'm healthy and able to contribute to the team's success, I'll keep playing."

The Jets have said publicly they'd like Monk to play another year, and he's leaning that way. He's had a productive season, with 44 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns, averaging about 13 yards per catch. Monk said he'll make his final decision in the offseason, when he'll also have time to ponder his latest achievement.

Monk, who turned 37 last Monday, is also the NFL's all-time leading receiver, now with 932 receptions. He also admitted the day he caught his 820th pass, also surpassing Largent for the total receptions record, was far more exciting. It happened in the fifth game of the 1992 season against the Denver Broncos at RFK Stadium. And the Redskins won.

"It's a little disappointing in not being able to do it in front of the fans of RFK," Monk said today. "Those people have been great to me my whole career. It's home to me."

The Washington Post
December 6, 1995
Panthers Starting Something
Leonard Shapiro

Former Washington Redskins wide receiver Art Monk might play for the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia sources say the Eagles are very much interested in having Monk around for 1996. They'd like him to be a mentor to promising rookie Chris T. Jones, their third-round draft choice from Miami.

Monk's consecutive game streak of 180 with at least one catch is intact because he did not play last week in the Eagles' loss to Seattle. Coach Ray Rhodes said he wanted to have Monk more familiar with the offense. If he plays this week, he'll be the Eagles' fourth or fifth wide receiver.

Monk wowed the Eagles in a tryout last month when he ran a 4.45 time in the 40-yard dash, followed by a 4.5. In his prime, Monk ran 4.4. His agent, former Redskin Brig Owens, said the Eagles were "amazed by how well he'd taken care of himself. I think what they saw is a man who still can run, has great hands and runs excellent patterns."

The Washington Post
December 11, 1995
Cowboys Don't Answer Switzer's Call vs. Eagles
Leonard Shapiro

Almost lost in the euphoria were two catches for 23 yards by Eagles wide receiver Art Monk, the former Washington Redskin who signed two weeks ago as a free agent. The catches extended Monk's NFL-record streak of games with at least one to 181. "Doing it against the Cowboys makes it nice, too," he said.

The Washington Post
October 27, 1997
Burn of Defeat Sets Mitchell Afire; After Tough Loss, Veteran Tries to Spark Fighting Spirit
Leonard Shapiro

As usual, veteran running back Brian Mitchell played with a fiery fury and passion yesterday against the Baltimore Ravens. And when the Washington Redskins walked off the field after losing to what he believes was an inferior opponent, he went to the locker room and had himself a good cry. He also had a message for his struggling teammates.

But Mitchell had plenty to say afterward, mostly that it was time for his teammates to replace words with positive deeds and action on the field.

"I'm tired of telling people they should do this thing or that thing," he said. "If you need someone to lead, watch me. . . . Motivating is on you. If you need a coach to motivate you, you shouldn't be on the field. Norv Turner does everything Joe Gibbs did. I don't feel like cutting somebody is [the solution], threatening someone's job.

"You don't see or hear [Turner] in our meetings. He hasn't thrown a chair yet, but he can rant and rave. I fear for my job. That's the way I play. . . . My words won't do anything. I'll be like Art Monk. I'll play the game the way it's supposed to be played. I'll lead by example. Everyone should be embarrassed."

The Washington Post
September 19, 2000
A Night for Redskins to Be Upset
Leonard Shapiro

The Washington Redskins paid tribute to three cornerstones of their glorious past last night at FedEx Field, but they also offered fans a painful glimpse of what could be an ugly future.

This was a night when Hall of Fame Coach Joe Gibbs, wide receiver Art Monk and defensive end Dexter Manley were added to the team's Ring of Fame in a special halftime ceremony.

The Washington Post
January 20, 2001
In Detroit, Millen Motoring to Rev Up the Lions
Leonard Shapiro

There are other intriguing decisions to be made. Former Redskins wide receiver Art Monk is also a finalist, and there's no question he is a legitimate candidate. When he retired four years ago, no receiver had caught more passes. He also played on three Super Bowl championship teams under Joe Gibbs, and has had an exemplary record of good deeds and community service off the field, as well.

But also on the ballot are Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, teammates from the great Steelers teams of the 1970s who keep splitting selector votes and haven't been able to make it to Canton, Ohio. Swann has come very close, making it onto the final ballot several times, and has a good chance of getting in this year. There's no question Monk is a Hall of Fame player. But it may not happen in his first year of eligibility.

The Washington Post
November 7, 2001
At Halftime, Parity Holds the Lead With Help From the Unpredictable
Leonard Shapiro

The list of 71 nominees for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in July includes seven former Redskins and several others with strong ties to the Washington area.

The most likely to move on to the final 15-man ballot that will be voted on in New Orleans on Feb. 2 would be wide receiver Art Monk and two of the original Hogs offensive linemen — tackle Joe Jacoby and guard Russ Grimm. The others are tackle Jim Lachey, linebackers Wilber Marshall and Matt Millen and defensive tackle Dave Butz.

Only two Redskins from the Joe Gibbs era are in the Hall — Gibbs and fullback John Riggins. That's a small number considering the Redskins appeared in four Super Bowls in a 10-year span, winning three. Monk appears to have the best shot at becoming the third.

Westchester Journal News
February 2, 2002
Hall of Fame has to find room for Monk
Barry Stanton

Last year, in his first year of eligibility, Monk did not make the cut from 15 to 10, the first round of eliminations.

"People don't think of him as a great receiver," said Leonard Shapiro of The Washington Post, who will present Monk's case to the committee this morning. "He didn't have a lot of memorable catches, big catches.

"He only had 65 touchdowns in 224 games. And that's because the Redskins threw the ball in those situations to Gary Clark. So some people don't see Art as the "go-to" guy. They think of him as a guy who ran a lot of 10-yard outs."

Shapiro is pessimistic about Monk's chances today.

"I think he'll get in," he said. "Just not now."

That is just part of the Hall of Fame's game. Lynn Swann, who made big catches for the Pittsburgh Steelers in four Super Bowls, had to wait 14 years before the committee finally elected him last year.

Sooner or later, Monk deserves his place.

"If he doesn't get in," Lott said, "it doesn't make sense."

If he doesn't get in, they might as well close the Hall.

Colorado Springs Gazette
January 31, 2004
Elway, Sanders a sure thing for Hall of Fame
Milo F. Bryant

Others players, such as former Washington Redskins receiver Art Monk, may sweat a while.

Monk is in his fifth year of eligibility, and it's the fifth year he's been a finalist. Presenter Shapiro, who said Monk should've been in the Hall two years ago, has the duty of presenting Monk again.

Monk (1980-95) was a big receiver, physical, too. He was the prototype for many of the gifted possession receivers of the mid- to late-1990s.

Critics say he was steady, but never great, that Monk was interchangeable with many other receivers.

"People say he didn't score a lot of touchdowns (68)," Shapiro said. "I say 'Look, he played with John Riggins.'"

Monk's supporters go, suggest that Riggins' rushing TDs lessened Monk's opportunities.

Monk has been argued over for five years. Voters argued over Bob Brown and Harry Carson for five years, too. Nobody on the list, however, has been a finalist more than former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Carl Eller.

December 14, 2004
Before Moving Ahead, One Final Look Back
Leonard Shapiro

Bauble: To Gregg Williams, the Redskins defensive coordinator whose unit has kept the team close in so many losses. Joe Gibbs and the offense owe this guy big-time.

Bupkus: To any of my fellow Hall of Fame selectors who fail to vote for retired Redskins receiver Art Monk to make the Hall's Class of 2005.

February 9, 2005
Before Moving Ahead, One Final Look Back
Leonard Shapiro

Hall of Fame Part II: Once again Art Monk is denied for reasons truly beyond my comprehension. The only so-called knock on him is that he didn't make the spectacular catch in the big game. I have always countered that Monk was never the Redskins deep threat, but the guy who always kept the chains moving, the go-to receiver when a vital third down had to be converted. He sacrificed for his team, was a wicked blocker down field and in Joe Gibbs protection schemes and has more catches than any receiver now in the Hall of Fame. I still believe he?s going to get in; it took Lynn Swann 14 years.

Dallas Morning News
January 29, 2006
32 Playoff victories + 8 Super Bowl appearances + 5 Super Bowl victories = 5 Players in the Hall of Fame? Is there a conspiracy to keep Cowboys greats out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Brad Townsend

Selectors say the secrecy fuels mistrust, leading to vague but persistent charges of bias.

"The only thing that has always bothered me about the process – and this goes way back – is there are always what you call 'silent assassins' in the room," says Washington Post columnist Leonard Shapiro, a board member since the early 1980s.

"The silent assassins are the guys who sit there and don't say a word. When it comes time to vote, they vote against them and you never know why. It's virtually true for every player who comes up. It's very disturbing."

Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Before Moving Ahead, One Final Look Back
By Leonard Shapiro

Hall of Fame Shame: That's right, another year, another snub of Art Monk.
Some people take it personally. Dan Snyder, the man who almost always declines interview requests, instead issued a statement decrying Monk's exclusion, and of course, that's really going to turn the tide next February when the selection committee meets again.

Yes, I'm on the committee and it remains somewhat of a mystery to me how a guy who caught more than 1,000 passes in his career — regular and postseason — couldn't even make it from the cut from 15 down to 10, where he was eliminated along with the best of the Hogs, Russ Grimm.

I say "somewhat" of a mystery because, during the selection meeting the Saturday morning before the Super Bowl, some selectors opposed to Monk's induction at least had the courage of their misguided convictions and did speak up.

The main knock on Monk is that opposing defenses feared Gary Clark and the Riggo running game more than they did Monk. It's an argument that's been made very publicly by my friend Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who was the beat guy covering the N.Y. Giants for Newsday on Long Island when Monk was in his prime in the 1980s. The Giants back then had a defensive coordinator named Bill Belichick — remember him — who devised various schemes that often effectively shut Monk down in an era when the Giants also dominated the Redskins.

I'm not telling tales out of school here; Peter has made his views very well known in his writings and broadcast appearances. He doesn't think Monk is a Hall of Famer because he didn't play like a Hall of Famer against the Giants, when King was watching. That's his opinion, and I respect the man and the opinion. I don't agree, but he's certainly entitled to it.

I just wish he and other selectors not in Monk's camp would look at the total body of work. And by the way, opposing defenses were likely more concerned with the Raiders Cliff Branch, but selectors still put his teammate, possession receiver Fred Biletnikoff, in the Hall. Opposing defenses were far more concerned with Kellen Winslow on the old Chargers, but selectors still voted Charlie Joiner a place in Canton.

Bottom line on Monk: when he retired, no receiver in league history had more catches. Second number: no receiver now in the Hall of Fame had more career catches than Monk. I still believe Monk is going to get in, as will Grimm and maybe even fellow Hog, Joe Jacoby. In a few years, Darrell Green should be a first ballot pick when he becomes eligible. Right now, the only Redskin player from that era in the hall is John Riggins, but that's going to change.

Washington Post
March 23, 2006
Tagliabue Deserves a Quick Trip to Canton
Leonard Shapiro

Memo to my fellow members on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee:

If we fail to vote NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue into the Hall next February, we should be even more embarrassed than ever before, including the incomprehensible failure once again to get former Washington Redskins receiver Art Monk in the front door in Canton and the mean-spirited snub also accorded to Art Modell, one of the great behind-the-scenes league architects in the Pete Rozelle-era and beyond.

May 5, 2006

David Climer

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

This blog is currently canvassing the Hall of Fame voters to find their opinions of Art Monk.  David Climer is a "Probably Yes," so with 31 of 39 voters profiled, the current count is:

4 No; 13 Yes; 14 Unknown/Maybe

David Climer took over Jeff Legwold's spot on the Hall of Fame Voting committee just a couple years ago.  Like Ira Kaufman, he seems to have come to the committee supporting Art Monk.

In an e-mail to me:

I have voted for him in the past. It depends on each year's class, though. I have not yet looked into this year's group so I have no conclusion on whom I will vote for this year.

david climer

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at