CANTON, Ohio | Amidst a burgundy-and-gold-clad sea of fans, Washington Redskins legends and close friends Art Monk and Darrell Green each became emotional as they accepted their enshrinements into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
“[Hall of Fame defensive end] Deacon Jones said I would cry. You bet your life I’m going to cry,” the 48-year-old Green said before starting to tremble as he mentioned the inspiration that he received from his late parents, Leonard and Gloria. “My parents were the best, and I thank the Lord for them.”
Monk, 50, choked up a little even before he began to speak as the crowd of 16,654 wouldn’t stop cheering for almost five minutes and then broke into a “We Love Monk” chant.
“Seeing the magnitude of all of this and all of you, I appreciate the support,” Monk said. “I’ll always be known as a Redskin. To be standing here among [the Hall of Famers] is an awesome moment in my life. But as great this honor is, it doesn’t really define who I am. …
“Being included into this fraternity is a pretty humbling experience. Growing up, I was never voted the most likely to succeed, never anything about me that would have given anyone the impression that I would’ve played in the NFL, let alone be standing here. From the time I first picked up a football, I fell in love with this game. This is the icing on the cake.”
Monk cited his special bonds with Green and former teammates Charles Mann, Monte Coleman, Tim Johnson and Ken Coffey.
Green also became emotional when discussing his best friends from sixth grade, one of whom died in a car crash when they were in college and the other who committed suicide soon thereafter.
The mention of Bobby Beathard, the Redskins’ general manager who gambled on the swift but small cornerback from Texas A&I (now called Texas A&M University at Kingsville) in the first round of the 1983 draft, also caused Green to wipe away a tear.
Green saluted the Redskins’ fans, saying, “We share this day with all of you.”
He gave special mention to roommates Vernon Dean, Scott Turner and Johnson among a slew of teammates, as well as Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, then the Redskins’ assistant general manager, and Barbara Frye, the secretary to Beathard and successor Charley Casserly.
Like Monk, Green spent much time discussing his profound religious faith.
Green, who retired in 2002 after a record-setting 20 seasons and 54 interceptions with the Redskins, closed with, “At the risk of sounding self-righteous, I belong here. I belong here. I belong here. I belong here because I know what to do with this [fame].”
Green was presented for induction by his son, Jared.
“My father’s been a Hall of Famer for years,” Jared Green said. “The definition of a Hall of Famer is someone who is great at everything. He was a great football player, but he was a better son, brother, father, businessman and most important, a man of God.”
Monk was presented by his son, James.