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Art Monk in 1991...


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Inspired somewhat by some recent debates about Art Monk and this thread:


I found one of the few in depth interviews Art Monk gave back in 1991, on the eve of our Super Bowl season:

Washington Post

August 30, 1991

At 33, Monk Leads Redskins by the Numbers

Richard Justice

Art Monk went to Coach Joe Gibbs a few months ago and asked a favor. He told Gibbs that several of the Washington Redskins were doing more and more of their conditioning work at George Mason University, where they’d discovered a small mountain perfect for doing the toughest sprint work.

Monk explained that while treadmills and StairMasters were nice, there was nothing like the mountain for a tough workout, and he wanted to know if perhaps the Redskins could have a mountain of their own. Gibbs spoke to strength coach Dan Riley and then to team owner Jack Kent Cooke, and when the team moves to a new Redskin Park next summer, it’ll come complete with a man-made mountain for Monk and friends to climb.

That mountain and what it represents is the perfect analogy as Monk begins his 12th pro season when the Redskins meet the Detroit Lions at 8 p.m. Sunday at RFK Stadium.

Monk has climbed almost all of them, both symbolically and figuratively. He begins this season with numbers that are already certain of opening the doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and starts with a bit of history riding on every reception.

His 730 catches are the third-highest total ever and put him only 20 behind Charlie Joiner and 89 behind Steve Largent. Having averaged 66 catches per season, he seems certain of passing Joiner this season and should catch Largent in 1992. He also has caught at least one pass in 116 straight games — the fifth-highest total ever.

The numbers are amazing enough and the numbers may someday be how he’s remembered. They tell the story of a guy who was one of the most consistent performers in history, a guy who wasn’t flashy, who didn’t torch opponents. Instead, he was always there, almost never missing a game, almost never dropping a pass.

Someday the Redskins may remember the numbers. But today he’s still the prototype player, the one that Gibbs and Cooke measure all others against. He’s still the hardest worker, the one who most represents grace and dignity and intelligence, the one who is last to the interview room to talk about what he did, but the first to go over the middle and catch a 28-yard pass on third-and-nine in a playoff game at Veterans Stadium.

Monk did sit still for an interview today at Redskin Park. He said the records will mean something someday, but not now. He said he’s excited about this year’s team. He said that at 33, he has to work harder than ever, but that he’s still capable of being productive.

“I’m sure the records will mean a lot to me someday, but the impact of it really hasn’t hit me,” he said. “I don’t think it will until after I leave the game. Right now, I’m just having fun playing the game. I don’t know. I just don’t see it the way everybody else does right now. I’m more interested in playing the game and trying to win, doing what I can to help the team. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m out there every week, that I’m there when they call on me.”

He talked this summer about life in the NFL at 33. He said he has to be more careful about what he eats and more diligent about his conditioning. One of the most incredible moments of this training camp came on the final scrimmage at Carlisle High when Gary Clark and Monk were playing catch. They were talking and laughing and mostly trying to get their bodies ready for one more practice.

But in one instant, Clark threw a high pass, and while still carrying on a conversation, Monk leaped, caught the ball with one hand and pulled it to his chest. It was a dazzling moment and came from a player who is among the first on the practice field and among the last to leave. It’s not unusual for him to go through two hard practices, then go for a one- or two-mile run. During the summer, he lifted weights three times a week at Redskin Park and did some kind of running seven times a week at George Mason.

“Self-motivation is something I’ve always had because I know if you’re going to be good at something, no matter what it is, you have to work for it,” he said. “There’s an old saying I try to remember. It goes: ‘The days that you don’t work, your opponent is working.’ When the time comes that you two meet, he’s going to win because he worked harder. I take that approach. He’s out there working wherever he is, whoever he is. I have to do whatever I can to keep on that same pace.”

And because of that approach, Monk is the one the Redskins turn to when the game is on the line. “The great times are when you reach a point in a ballgame where I know they’re really looking at me to take control of a situation. Once you feel that, you just respond to it. It takes control of you. You get into a groove with the quarterback. He knows what I’m going to do, and I know what he’s going to do. You get a feeling that you can do just about anything you want to do. You can’t really describe it. It’s really hard to relate it to someone who hasn’t been out there and been through it.”

Gibbs seemed exasperated this week when a reporter pressed him on the question of leadership and why the Redskins didn’t have leaders. He meant there weren’t Redskins who gave passionate pregame speeches and who lead cheers or wave towels on the sideline.

Gibbs pointed toward Monk and Don Warren and Monte Coleman and said: “We’re a businesslike team. We play with emotion, but just because you don’t hear from guys doesn’t mean they’re not leaders.”

Gibbs said leadership comes in all forms, and it was Monk who called a players-only team meeting on the eve of the 12th game last season. The Redskins were 6-5 and about to play the Dolphins and Bears at home and they were about to find out if they were a legitimate playoff team or not.

The next day he caught 10 passes and scored twice in a 42-20 victory over Miami. The meetings became a weekly ritual as the Redskins won four of their last five, returned to the playoffs and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC first-round game before losing to the San Francisco 49ers.

This season begins with the Redskins having been picked by many to win the NFC, but having looked terrible in preseason. “We’re a very talented team,” Monk said. “I think we’re a closer team than we were a couple of years ago. With the addition of a couple of new faces, we’ve grown closer together. We’re really excited about having a great season. I think we’ll have it as long as we stay healthy. We’ve got to win the games we’re supposed to win.”

Monk said he hasn’t once wondered what his career numbers would be if he’d played with only one quarterback. He has talked often about the magic relationship he had with Joe Theismann, but since then, there’s been Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, Stan Humphries and Jeff Rutledge.

Link to buy the article.

I think that article covers everything. It captures a moment when everyone knew Art was headed for the Hall of Fame. It shows Art as a leader on a championship team, the undisputed #1 receiver who could take over games when he had to ...

It describes a "signature catch," when the Redskins were down 6-0 before halftime in the 1990 Wild-Card game against the Eagles and on third-and-9, Monk caught a 28-yard first down across the middle. Two plays later, he caught a 16-yard touchdown to put the Redskins up 7-6.

It's really not Monk's career numbers that should get him into the Hall of Fame - it's the first 10 or 11 seasons of his career, when he was a dominant force and truly one of the greatest receivers ever to play the game.

...there's nothing better in the offseason than thinking back to the Super Bowl years...

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that is a great article . . . it makes me wonder about all the players that announcers call "sure-fire HOF'ers" during the season and how they will be percievd in the future after they are gone. The bottom line - Peter King and those who vote against Monk are holding him to standards of a later era in which he did not play - and are wrongfully belittling everything he meant to the NFL, the Redskins and the HOF.

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Great read!!

That Dolphins regular season game Eagles playoff game were the defining moments of our last Super Bowl run in my opinion. We had two non-playoff years (1988 and 1989) before that season and were treading water before the big finish and playoff W in 1990 (sound familiar?).

We then rode that momentum to a magical 1991 season.

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If there were only a way to forward a copy of that article to every idiot on the HOF committee. Maybe they'd think twice about denying Monk his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

As i read this i was thinkin the same thing. I remember the eagles game. I will never forget when Monk passed Largent, i was celebrating my Birthday at Chi-Chi's. They stopped the game and handed him the ball. It was an exciting and electric moment that i personally will never forget but i guess that all of the HOF voters have forgotten that moment and feel that that was not an accomplishment worthy of an induction into the juicer. :rolleyes:

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That was a great read...Art Monk is my all-time favorite player in any sport, an idol even. I watched him week in and week out for as long as I can remember. The fact that he gets no recognition for all that he accomplished(which was much more than the statistics), is truly a travesty. I do not respect the HOF right now and I will continue not to until Monk gets in, and even then we can all ask the question of "what the hell took so long?"

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Forget Peter King and the Hall of Fame. Art Monk is a shining example of what being a Redskin is all about and its not defined by Pro Bowls, league leaders, Hall of Fame votes, MVP votes or anything else other than team wins. I hope that some of the leaders on the current team can conduct themselves with half the humility and class that Art Monk and Co. did in the 80s and early 90s.


PS -- Im done with the Hall of Fame debate. So what if no one else knows how good Art was. He is our little secret that helped us to three SB titles.

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