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Redskins keep Hall in the family

- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 22, 2008

John Riggins, the ultimate contrarian, chose Mr. Establishment, Paul Tagliabue. Joe Gibbs, ever a loyalist, picked his former boss, Don Coryell. George Allen's family had the late coach presented by one of the players who adored him, Deacon Jones.

The Washington Redskins' newest Hall of Fame inductees, Darrell Green and Art Monk, have made different, if somewhat trendy, decisions.

The family men, Redskins teammates for 11 seasons who attend the same church, will be presented for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 2 by their only sons, Jared Green and James Arthur Monk Jr.

Jared Green, 19, who will be a redshirt freshman receiver at Virginia this fall, and James Monk, 25, a youth programs director at a YMCA in Orlando, Fla., will join former Redskins assistant coach Emmitt Thomas' son, Derek, in presenting their fathers in Canton.

"My son is my greatest supporter," Monk said. "He's more than just my son but a friend, and he has grown into a young man that I'm very proud of and greatly respect. He is a man of character who lives his life as an example for others to follow and is a product of his parents' stewardship in raising him to live a godly life. I'm happy and excited for him to have an opportunity like this to represent me and my family."

Green followed that same logic when choosing his son.

"This is one of the most special events in my life," Green said. "You want someone to present you who is equal to how special this is. Jared is my only son. We talk every day. [My wife] Jewell wouldn't want to speak in public, so Jared is in the No. 1 seat."

From 1963, when the Hall opened, through 1990, no inductee ever was presented by a relative. Former New England Patriots guard John Hannah became the first when he chose his father to present him in 1991. Then, Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton had his son, Jarrett, present him in 1993.

Such selections since then have become commonplace. Family members presented 10 of the 21 enshrinees from 2004 to 2007, including all four in 2004 and four of five in 2005.

That's a huge change from the Hall's early years. The presenters for the original class of 17 included Associate Supreme Court Justice Byron "Whizzer" White; Sen. Philip Hart; a special assistant to President John F. Kennedy; a major general; Canton's congressman; the chairman of Sharon Steel Co.; the president of the United Steelworkers; each one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame; and the presidents of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

None of the 17 enshrinees were presented by a teammate, coach or owner of a team for which he had played. The ceremony appeared as more a celebration of the opening of the Hall and the sport than of the inductees themselves.

The most distant relationships between presenter and inductee of late came when sportswriters did the honors for the late Benny Friedman (whose nephew accepted) in 2005 and for Joe DeLamielleure in 2003. Warren Moon, who became the Hall's first black quarterback in 2006, also became the first inductee to be presented by his agent. Steve Largent opted for Gary Wright, Seattle's public relations director during his 14 years with the Seahawks, while Billy Shaw picked Buffalo's longtime trainer, Eddie Abramoski.

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, a Hall of Famer himself, has presented a record nine enshrinees. The only female presenters have been Marie Lombardi (in 1976 and 1977), widow of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi; the widows of former San Francisco 49ers co-owners Tony and Victor Morabito (both in 1969); and 18-year-old Jessica Elway, who presented her father, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, in 2004.