July 31, 2008

Art Monk, Darrell Green Set To Carve Their Names in Canton

Art Monk and Darrell Green are deeply loved in DC, and for good reason. They are two of the primary reasons the Redskins brought home three Super Bowl trophies in the '80s and early '90s.

Without their presence, we would never have seen Green's epic punt return in the '87 playoffs, while Monk never would have broken the all-time reception record in '92. More importantly, we wouldn't have experienced the class they possessed, both on and off the field.

However, we were fortunate enough to watch these two outstanding players for many seasons. The Redskins' front office selected Monk in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft, and he quickly took off.

Monk recorded 58 catches in his first season, a Redskins' rookie record and then went on to become the first receiver to ever catch more than 100 balls in a season in 1984. His quiet demeanor and humble approach hid his talent. Fans in DC always knew they could count on No. 81.

He was an excellent route runner and willing blocker. A receiver lacking the usual prima donna air that goes with most premiere WRs. He had five seasons with 1,000 receiving yards or more and caught at least one pass in 183-straight games.

Monk was instrumental in all three Super Bowl seasons. He was one of the members of a phenomenal trio of receiver named the "Posse", and in 1989, all three (Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders, and Monk) of them went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season.

Monk's greatest individual moment came on a Monday night, against Denver, in 1992. On that night, he overshadowed the retiring of John Riggins' jersey by hauling in his 820th catch, passing Steve Largent to become the all-time leader in receptions.

Monk ended his career with the Eagles, after the Redskins refused to pay him, but he will always remain a Redskin. He is seventh on the receptions list now, with 940, and his 12,721 receiving yards rank 12th on the all-time list.

It took Monk far too long to be inducted, but on Saturday, his bust will finally arrive in Canton. He was a receiver ahead of his time, and the NFL has finally given him the recognition he deserves. Congrats to Art and to the Redskins' community!

Meanwhile, Darrell Green didn't have to wait. He was inducted on his first ballot, which was expected.

Green is Mr. Redskin, without question. 20 seasons, two-time Super Bowl champ, 54 interceptions, four-time NFL's fastest man, seven-time Pro Bowler, and the list goes on.

Drafted in the first round in 1983 from Texas A&I, Green became the oldest CB ever at 42, and he is also the longest-tenured Redskins ever. He recorded at least one interception in 19-straight seasons, while returned six INTs for TDs in his career.

He was named to '90s' All-Decade Team and ran the fastest forty known to date (4.09).

Green's greatest moment came in a 1987 playoff game against the Bears. Green returned a punt 52 yards for a TD, which proved to be the winning score.

On the play, Green tore cartilage in his ribs, but finished off the play, vaulting over a defender to break it open. The image of Green jumping over the defender has become an iconic shot that is treasured by all NFL fans.

Green was, and still is, a classy, professional man who has raised a large sum of money for his own charitable foundation, and he continues to do to a lot for the city of DC. He retired in 2002, and his final game fittingly was against the Cowboys.

It's been five long years since then, but the wait has been worth it. Green is my favorite player, and to see him go to Canton this year will be a special moment for the Redskins' faithful. It is even more special because Art Monk finally got his due and will join Green.

This Saturday, tune in at 6:00 PM to watch two greats give their speeches and enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's a Burgundy and Gold weekend! Hail to the Redskins!

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