Saturday, February 03, 2007

NFL Hall remains Monkless

Today the National Football League announced its 2007 class to be inducted into its Hall of Fame on August 5 -- Gene Hickerson, Michael Irvin, Bruce Matthews, Charlie Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Roger Wehrli. Once again, the list does not include the name of Art Monk.
Monk, No. 81, working in traffic. Of course he got hit. And, of course he caught the ball.
Monk, a wide receiver drafted out of Syracuse in the first round in 1980 by the Washington Redskins, eventually finished his career in 1995 atop the NFL’s list for most receptions. He still ranks as No. 6 in that category. During his years with the Redskins he played on three Super Bowl-winning squads under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.

Of Monk’s game, Gibbs said, “He was big, he was strong, and he was intelligent. He had everything. I can’t see how a receiver could be more valuable to a team.”

Here’s a glance at Art Monk’s career as a pass receiver in statistics:

Regular season, 1980-95
Receptions: 940
Yards: 12,721
Touchdowns: 68

Postseason, 15 games
Receptions: 69
Yards: 1,062
Touchdowns: 7

So what’s Monk’s problem?

He was a possession receiver and a great blocker, rather than a game-breaker. Monk simply played football in every game in a way that his teammates and his opponents, alike, respected. He was a quiet, dutiful player who didn’t promote himself. He was as stoic as Deion Sanders was loquacious. Perhaps most important, he didn’t jump through hoops for sportswriters.

For whatever reason, every year Monk is put on the HOF’s list of finalists, then he’s left off the list of inductees.

Last year, of Monk’s exclusion of Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott said, “Art Monk was an example for Jerry Rice. That’s what Jerry always told me. There's nothing negative to say. He has the numbers, the catches, the championships. 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.”
Photo: Ernie Brooks


Catzmaw said...

What the hell is wrong with those clowns making the selections? Art Monk was not only a terrific player but a role model who never bragged, never showboated, never trash-talked. He was class the way Ripken was class in baseball and the way Darrell Green was class at cornerback. The continuing denial of entry into the HOF for Monk is a slap in his face and puts the lie to the tsk-tsking that goes on in the sports media about good players behaving badly, because the reality is that self-promoting showboaters have no trouble at all making it into the HOF.

Shaun Kenney said...

Monk showed up, played great, took care of business, and that's that.

Marvin Harrison reminds me of Art Monk. A lot.