- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There are so many favorite Redskins from the original Joe Gibbs days but none are more famous, more respected and loved than James Arthur “Art” Monk and Darrell Green as both players and as men. With careers that spanned 22 years overlapping for 13 years, these two men were the heart and soul of the offense and defense for a Redskins team that was one of the most successful franchises in NFL history - with four Super Bowl appearances and three championships in 10 years.

When Art Monk was drafted 18th in 1980, no one expected the tall, lanky, deceptively fast receiver from Syracuse to achieve the success he did, retiring as the all-time leading receiver with 940 receptions, the first to reach 900 catches, the single season receptions record with 106 in 1984 and the most consecutive games with a catch, 183. Darrell Green was viewed similarly when he was picked 28th in the draft from a Texas school in 1983 that like him was small. The 5-foot-8 Mr. Green found himself in a land of receivers that were increasingly taller than 6 feet by the 1980s. with 54 interceptions, six returned for touchdowns and two “pick sixes” in the playoffs, he is best remembered for a play that should not have happened - a 60-yard run by Tony Dorsett ended in a touchdown-saving tackle by No. 28. By the time 1984 rolled around, though he was remembered more for not being there - for 14 years, no quarterback would throw to a receiver covered by Darrell Green.

There is no question that Mr. Monk, who retired in 1995, should have been inducted eight-years ago as a first-ballot Hall of Famer after waiting his requisite five years. The 13 years he was forced to endure by the pompous sportswriters who refused to vote him in should not have been. Mr. Monk should never have had to stomach the “he wasn’t acrobatic like [Lynn] Swann” or the “he never had that great catch” excuses that were tossed about. Mr. Monk was on the field what most players, even some enshrined in Canton, Ohio, are not. He was consistent. On every game day and in every practice you got 100 percent effort from a man who let his play speak for him, not his mouth.

But perhaps the waiting had a purpose. Darrell Green and Art Monk are the only two players who could be paired in this way, almost poetic, as two men respected, followed and revered, professional on and off the field - so similar as players and men, and yet at the same time representing the antithetical and adversarial within football - wide receiver vs. cornerback.

There is no other match-up that is so singularly separate from the team-oriented play of the game, truly one man vs. the other, and only these two are equally great in the same way, consistent, the best when they played - and let us not forget that they were teammates.

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