The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Jarrett Bell

Jarrett Bell of USA Today

Vote: Likely Yes (7/10)

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.

USA Today
August 3, 2006
Carson’s Hall of Fame call on hold until this year
Jarrett Bell

Wright realizes he isn’t the first to have his patience tested. Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Lynn Swann was a finalist 14 times before elected; former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Carl Eller was a 13-time finalist.

“You wonder what’s going on,” Wright said. “Mel Renfro (his former teammate) was up 12 times. Art Monk has been up for years. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. But life goes on.”

Hall voters have their say
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Wed, Nov. 14, 2007

John McClain, Houston Chronicle

“Right now, the jury is still out on T.O. There are a lot of great receivers with impressive numbers still deserving of the Hall of Fame. Art Monk, Andre Reed and Cris Carter, for instance. Others from TO’s era — Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Isaac Bruce, Rod Smith — have posted big numbers, too. Like T.O., they’re outstanding receivers with impressive credentials. The bottom line on T.O. and all of the others is that there’s going to be a lot of stiff competition from a lot of deserving candidates, so the jury is still out.”

Jarrett Bell, USA Today

“Here’s my take on Terrell Owens: Still undetermined. It is tough to merely glance at numbers as the determining factor. If so, Art Monk, Andre Reed and even Andre Rison would be in the Hall. The passing game numbers have become so inflated as the NFL has evolved, and that makes it difficult to rate receivers and quarterbacks from different eras by the same standards. I mean, Drew Pearson is Hall of Fame-worthy in my book, and he had 261 fewer career catches than Michael Irvin did. And I think Bob Hayes, who helped write the history of the receiver position in the NFL, deserves to be in the Hall, regardless of his numbers. Still, in Owens’ case, the career touchdowns are the numbers that support his case.

“Now, what’s the intangible? That whole T.O. persona. The bylaws state that we are to consider players based on what happens between the lines. But that can be interpreted in different ways. So, just as you might view Ray Lewis more favorably for his leadership, an argument might be made that Owens’ track record over the years for, well, events — with all the antics and selfish showboating, sideline blowups, in-house spats — should be weighed for whatever negative impact he might have had on his teams from a chemistry standpoint. Obviously, that’s a lot tougher to quantify than TDs or dropped passes.

“Still, when you get back to productivity and impact as a player, I don’t see where Terrell Owens brings anything less to the wide receiver position than Hall of Famers like Steve Largent, Tommy McDonald and James Lofton did when they played.”


1 Comment »

  1. 81 Reasons to Induct Art Monk

    1) 12,721 Receiving Yards (#9 all time, eight years after retirement)

    2) 940 Receptions ( was #1, is now #5 eight years after retiring)

    3) 68 Receiving Touchdowns (still in top 30, all time)

    4) 224 Games played

    5) Caught at least one pass in 183 consecutive games (once a record)

    6) Helped Washington to three SB victories in four appearances.

    7) Three consecutive Pro Bowl Selections

    8) “Art was Jerry Rice before Jerry Rice was” – Joe Theismann

    9) Record of 106 receptions in 1984 stood for eight years.

    10) “Quiet about his work, very loud with his results” – Mark Rypien

    11) First to record 106 receptions in one season

    12) First to catch at least one pass in 164 consecutive games

    13) First to catch more than 900 passes.

    14) Caught 58 passes as a rookie, unanimous All-Rookie Selection

    15) Redskins 1984 MVP

    16) 50 or more reception in a season 9 times

    17) 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season 5 times

    18) Master of the medium route over the middle, aka “No Man’s Land”

    19) First Redskin to produce 3 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons

    20) Prototype for the modern receiver

    21) 3-time 1st or 2nd team All-NFC Team selection

    22) In ’85, named to the Pro Football Weekly All-Pro Team

    23) In ’85, named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team

    24) In ’85, named to the UPI All-NFL Team

    25) In ’86, named to the UPI All-NFC Team

    26) Founded the Good Samaritan Foundation, with teammates.

    27) 1, 062 Playoff yards

    28) Largent, Lofton and Stallworth are already in.

    29) The consummate pro; made the big catch, went back to the huddle.

    30) Not a “Hot Dog”; let his play on the field do all the talking.

    31) Nicknamed “Money” by teammates, “Artist” by the fans

    32) Founded the Student Training Opportunity Program, with teammates

    33) Started the Art Monk Football Camp” in 1983, and it’s still going.

    34) 16-year career, 0 arrests.

    35) Named to TSN’s “100 Greatest Football Players” list

    36) Never once disappointed the team or the fans, on the field or off.

    37) A first round draft pick that played like a first round draft pick.

    38) Has more career catches than anyone currently in the Hall.

    39) Putting loud jerks in over Monk sends the wrong message to kids.

    40) Art does not lobby to get himself inducted

    41) First down machine on 3rd and long

    42) Still holds the club record for catches in a season (106)

    43) Still holds the club record for passes caught in a game (13, twice)

    44) Honored as one of the “Washingtonians of the Year” in 1992

    45) Focuses on the forgotten “high school aged” youth in DC.

    46) “I don’t know about the criteria, but whatever it is, I believe Art has achieved it” –Joe Theismann

    47) “He was big, he was strong, and he was intelligent. He had everything”-Joe Gibbs, HOF inductee

    48) “Art Monk was an example for Jerry Rice. That’s what Jerry always told me.”- Ronnie Lott, HOF inductee

    49) “There’s nothing negative to say. He has the numbers, the catches, the championships.” –Lott

    50) “Spend a day with Art Monk, and your life will improve by 10%”- Theismann

    51) “You have a Hall of Fame for all it represents. I know he represents all that it’s about. Integrity, love and passion for the game, community, what he gave back. Look how he conducted himself. Nobody I know deserves it more.” –Lott

    52) If he doesn’t get in, they might as well close the Hall.

    53) “There was never a classier player in this franchise’s history, or in league history, than Art Monk. You always knew the team would be getting Art Monk’s best effort day in and day out.” –Charlie Casserly

    54) “Monk is headed to Canton downhill on roller skates”- Bill Parcells, 1995

    55) Only one other player, linebacker Monte Coleman, has been on the field for the Redskins more than Monk.

    56) Art Monk is almost as proud of his relative anonymity as he is the record-setting numbers he compiled over a 16-year NFL career.

    57) When Monk spoke, it was usually with tough catches in the clutch moments of big games.

    58) Nothing came naturally for Monk, who spent countless hours on the practice field and many more behind the projector.

    59) I never saw Monk drop a pass. Period.

    60) Monk’s 40-yard catch with eight minutes left in the first quarter of SBXXII was Doug Williams’ first completion of what would be a record setting game.

    61) Named in a 1992 poll during the team’s 50th Anniversary Season as the most popular Redskin of all time.

    62) Participates in a “Kid’s Fishing Day” for underprivileged kids

    63) Has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, reciting children’s fairy tales with musical accompaniment.

    64) “He’s more than just his receptions. Few players have been able to achieve what he’s achieved.” –Richie Petitbon

    65) “He is a gifted athlete who takes great care of himself. He’s a guy who works at his craft, and responds to any challenge. However, he does it so quietly that his accomplishments are sometimes overlooked.”- Joe Gibbs

    66) Selected to the 1989 All-Madden Team

    67) Early in his career, Art arranged and scheduled charity basketball games for the Redskins.

    68) “I can’t see how a receiver could be more valuable to a team.” –Gibbs

    69) Fame is often hard earned. Character is often elusive to define. A man of great character himself, Art Monk encompasses what it means to be a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    70) Monk wasn’t a “SportsCenter” type of receiver — more like a “Masterpiece Theatre” type.

    71) You wouldn’t see Monk pull out a Sharpie to sign a ball after scoring a touchdown.

    72) “He embodied the old school, and for that alone he should be enshrined so that when a father takes his son through the Hall of Fame, he can say, “Son, here is a man who once caught 106 passes in a season when no one was catching 100 passes. Here was a man who caught a pass in 183 straight games. And not once did he ever pull a cell phone out to make a call after any of those catches.” –Thomas Loverro, Washington Times

    73) Football is a game of first downs and Monk was the receiver who would move the chains.

    74) He has since been passed in this pass-crazy era, but in the context of when he played, Art Monk was a Hall of Fame receiver.

    75) He did this while never playing with a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback.

    76) Critics will say Monk benefited from playing in Joe Gibbs’ system. What might be the case is that the Gibbs system benefited from having Monk.

    77) “I believe he’s a Hall of Famer. I was a pro scout when he was playing, so it was my job to know who those guys were. I would put Art in that category, but apparently there are a lot of Hall of Fame voters who don’t feel Art Monk was in that category. It’s hard for me to believe they ever saw him play.” –Bill Polian, President Indianapolis Colts

    78) He was the anti-Terrell Owens.

    79) He was the standard-bearer, the mold-maker and the receiver every team of his era wished they’d had.

    80) He’s already a Hall Of Famer off the field.

    81) It’s time.

    Comment by Mark Barnette — January 10, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

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