- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2008

CANTON, Ohio | Washington Redskins fans had to be here Saturday. They had to celebrate the induction of Darrell Green and Art Monk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Paul Schrantz, a season-ticket holder since 1961, came from Gaithersburg.

“Having Darrell and Art inducted together is like a doubleheader,” the 71-year-old Schrantz said. “We wouldn’t miss this. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

Schrantz traveled to Canton with 10 family members. His sons Steve and Paul and grandsons Joe and Sam, all in Redskins’ attire, joined him for lunch at Max and Erma’s in North Canton.

So were lifelong pals Michael Marquis, 43, of Olney and Ross Wolf, 44, of Brookville, Md., along with their FedEx Field tailgate buddy Jeff Lachin, 41, of Bethesda.

“As soon as I heard that Art got elected [on Feb. 2], I called Ross and asked him if he wanted to go to the Hall of Fame?” Marquis said. “He called Jeff, and then I got online to see about buying tickets. We saw their whole careers. We had to be here.”

That’s how Monk’s fellow Posse members Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders felt.

They were joined by many other former Redskins players and personnel - Mark Moseley, Ken Harvey, Scott Turner and Brian Carpenter, assistant coach Tom Hayes, general manager Charley Casserly, scout George Saimes, Dr. William Knowlan and front office employees Barbara Frye and B.J. Blanchard.

Hall of Fame quarterbacks Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen remain beloved in the D.C. area, but only those older than 40 saw either of them play, so Green, who retired in 2002 after a record 20 seasons with the team, and receiver Monk, who set the all-time record for catches in 1992, the 13th of his 14 seasons in Washington, are nearer and dearer to the hearts of most fans.

Back in the day, Marquis’ uncle owned The Locker Room, a souvenir store on Pennsylvania Avenue. He recalled meeting Monk there before the rookie ever played for the Redskins.

“From Day 1, he was a draw,” Marquis said.

Green and Monk, close friends as they starred together for the Redskins from 1983 to 1993, rode in separate cars along with their respective presenters/sons Jared and James during a morning parade through downtown Canton.

Many of the parade-watchers were clad in Redskins colors, including the self-described “Fun Bunch Group,” a group of 46 D.C. area fans all wearing burgundy shirts and holding cardboard signs bearing Green’s No. 28 and Monk’s No. 81.

Sisters Nadine and Adine Smith of Arlington organized the group, which previously attended the inductions of coach Joe Gibbs in 1996 and running back John Riggins in 1992.

“It was a football fan’s paradise,” Marquis said of the rolling caravan that included many of the 70 returning Hall of Famers.

“Ninety percent of the crowd watching the parade were Redskins fans,” said Wolf, who’s staying with his friends 30 miles from Canton in Berlin, Ohio, but still closer than those fans bunking in Cleveland 55 miles away.

Lachin said the Hall of Fame’s store resembled a Redskins store, given the burgundy and gold merchandise customers examined compared with Patriots (Andre Tippett), Chiefs (Emmitt Thomas), 49ers (Fred Dean) and Vikings/Broncos (Gary Zimmerman). Strangely, Green souvenirs weren’t for sale. His representatives have set up their own stands.

Schrantz said his hotel in Cleveland might as well be in the District since the breakfast tables were filled with Redskins fans.

“Some of them even had their faces painted,” said Sam Schrantz, 10, wearing a jersey of his favorite Redskins player, Jason Campbell.

Almost three hours before the ceremony began, fans in jerseys bearing the names of Campbell, Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, Fred Smoot and the Sean Taylor as well as Jurgensen, Riggins, Monk, Green, Dexter Manley and Alvin Walton.

About 100 people from Green’s alma mater, Texas A&I;, including coach Ron Harms, were here, many clad in bright blue jerseys with Javelinas on the front and D. Green 32 on the back. There was also a contingent of orange-clad folks from Monk’s alma mater, Syracuse.

As Green exulted when learning he, Monk and former assistant coach Thomas were all part of this year’s seven-man class, “It’s a Redskins Day, baby!”

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