The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

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.

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