MIAMI — The seventh time wasn’t the charm for Art Monk.
The former Washington Redskins wide receiver and longtime teammate Russ Grimm both fell short of election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame yesterday.
Monk, who retired in 1995 as the NFL’s all-time leading receiver, made it past the first cut from 17 to 10 candidates. Grimm, a Pro Bowl selection at guard each season from 1983-86 before injuries began shortening his career, didn’t even make it that far.
Their rejections leave the Redskins, who made the playoffs eight times, reached four Super Bowls and won three titles from 1981 to 1992, with just one Hall of Fame player. That’s running back John Riggins, who retired in 1985 after just three of those playoff berths, two of the Super Bowls and one of the championships. Another former teammate, cornerback Darrell Green, will be eligible next year.
Meanwhile, the 1970s Detroit Lions, who never won a playoff game, have two Hall of Famers with tight end Charlie Sanders joining cornerback Lem Barney yesterday.
“A good man and legitimate Hall of Famer is being denied entry for reasons we never know, by people who secretly vote,” Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said. “Art Monk is a Hall of Famer by any measure. This is not right.”
Added Joe Gibbs, the Redskins’ coach then and now: “I’m disappointed that Art wasn’t recognized for election into the Hall of Fame today, but I remain confident that he will be recognized for all the positive contributions he has brought to the game. I can’t think of a more deserving player or person that possesses more Hall of Fame credentials than Art.”
Monk’s cause might have been hurt this year by the presence on the ballot of former Dallas receiver Michael Irvin, who was elected yesterday. Irvin’s absence next year gives Monk potentially a window for election, though he’ll be joined on the ballot by former Vikings star Cris Carter, who will be eligible for the first time.
Monk finished his career with 940 receptions for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns. Irvin caught 750 passes for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns. Carter tops them both, having hauled in 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns.
Grimm’s chances were affected by the presence of guard Bruce Matthews, who was elected yesterday in his first year of eligibility. Tackle Gary Zimmerman, selected to the All-Decade teams of the 1980s and 1990s, didn’t get in again this year, but he is formidable competition for Grimm. The three-time finalist’s hopes are also hurt by the fact that he stayed healthy for only nine of his 11 seasons.