Art Monk and Russ Grimm have made the cut again.
Monk and Grimm, Washington Redskins teammates for three Super Bowl titles, four NFC Championships and seven playoff berths, were among the 17 players announced yesterday as finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Monk has been a finalist all seven years that he has been eligible for election, while Grimm is a finalist for the third straight year after not making it this far in his first eight.
Monk, who played for the Redskins from 1980 to 1993, retired in 1995 with a since-broken NFL record of 940 catches. Now 49, Monk runs a credit card business in Northern Virginia with ex-teammate Charles Mann as well as the Good Samaritan Foundation, which mentors at-risk teenagers.
Grimm was a four-time Pro Bowl selection from 1983 to 1986 as a leader of the famed "Hogs" offensive line. Injuries shortened his 11-year career in 1991. Now 47, Grimm is Pittsburgh's associate head coach and a prime candidate to replace Bill Cowher, who retired as the Steelers' coach last week.
Nine-time All-Pro guard Bruce Matthews is the only first-time eligible candidate. The five other new finalists include Paul Tagliabue, who retired in August after 17 years as NFL commissioner; receiver Andre Reed; defensive end Fred Dean; linebacker Andre Tippett; and tight end Charlie Sanders, one of two Seniors Committee candidates.
Running back Thurman Thomas, receiver Michael Irvin, offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman, guards Gene Hickerson (the other senior candidate) and Bob Kuechenberg, defensive end Richard Dent, linebacker Derrick Thomas, cornerback Roger Wehrli and punter Ray Guy also will be voted on by the 40 selectors Feb. 3 in Miami.
The 17 finalists will be narrowed to six during the Miami meeting, with at least three being elected. It takes 80 percent of the vote to be elected. The survivors will be inducted in Canton, Ohio, in August.
No receiver was elected the past three years, and only three -- Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and James Lofton -- have been enshrined in the past decade. Ten offensive linemen have been enshrined during that period, most recently Rayfield Wright last year.
If Monk and/or Grimm is elected, they would join 15 Redskins players in the Hall. Coach George Allen was the last to be inducted in 2002. Monk would join Wayne Millner, Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor, while Grimm would be just the second lineman, joining Turk Edwards.
The 10 semifinalists who were eliminated included running back Terrell Davis and guard Randall McDaniel, both first-time nominees; quarterback Ken Stabler; center Dermontti Dawson; defensive end Charles Haley; linebackers Randy Gradishar and Kevin Greene; cornerback Lester Hayes; administrator George Young; and owner Art Modell.