- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Darrell Green was giddy, admittedly “tight” and “wound up” from the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona. It was a busy week. He seemed to be on practically every TV and radio network and, oh, by the way, was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

And he had an engraved “Roliex,” as he pronounced it, a gift from Redskins owner Dan Snyder, to prove it.

But it was hard to tell the difference from the Green many have come to know. The 20-year Washington Redskins cornerback, who was elected in his first year of eligibility, is an animated and accomplished public speaker, a friend of microphone and camera alike.

Now Art Monk, that was a different story.

The former Redskins wide receiver, whose election to the Hall coincided with Green’s and ended a long, painful wait, actually went over his allotted time limit during ceremonies honoring the pair yesterday at Redskins Park.

Known as a private, somewhat reticent player on and off the field, traits that have endured into retirement, Monk showed a different side.

He cracked jokes, and his voice cracked a bit as he thanked those who helped made it happen. Even those who knew Monk were somewhat taken aback.

“That’s the most I’ve ever seen Art be that emotional,” said Gary Clark, a former teammate of Green and Monk during most of the Super Bowl years. “It’s the first time I’ve heard that much emotion in his voice.”

Clark was one of several Redskins alumni who attended — names like Charley Taylor and Sam Huff and Roy Jefferson and Dexter Manley — along with members of the organization and the players’ families. Even Chief Zee, the team mascot, was there in full regalia. With tall tales and good-natured insults flying, and the temperature cranked up, the auditorium felt like a locker room.

Clark did more than watch. Providing a special moment himself, he walked to the podium and delivered a spontaneous testimonial to Green and Monk.

“A lot of guys played hard, extremely hard, but they will never get the kind of respect you deserve because of the way you’ve lived your lives and played the game,” he said, citing the pair’s dedication to community service.

“I could never be an ambassador the way you have,” Clark said. “I was just a football player.”

After a video tribute and introductions by Snyder, Monk quipped, “I’m the one who’s gonna go first because I’m the one who’s shortest on words.”

That got a big laugh.

Monk, who holds most Redskins receiving records and was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver before Jerry Rice, was elected in his eighth year of eligibility. The lengthy wait generated a huge lobbying effort, mainly on the Internet.

“To be honest, this whole induction thing had taken me by surprise,” said Monk, who planned to ask the Hall to remove his name from consideration if he didn’t make it this year. “I had just written it off.”

When the phone rang Saturday and his wife, Desiree, broke the news, “It took me completely off-guard,” Monk said. “Since then it’s been a little bit overwhelming. It’s been a whirlwind the last couple of days.”

Entering the Hall of Fame gave him reason to recall past players, those who “made sacrifices and made a commitment to their sport,” he said. “When you think of it that way, it’s an awesome responsibility. I’ve tried to represent the Redskins with decency, and I’ve tried to represent myself as a man of decency and character.”

After bestowing thanks on many, Monk said, “I ran over my time.”

But the man of few words kept going. He especially wanted to mention the fans, recalling a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he dropped a sure touchdown pass yet was applauded as he left the field.

In telling the story, Monk said. “I was running downfield. I had the defender beat by 5 yards.” He paused, his timing impeccable. “As usual,” he said.

The place broke up.

That’s a page from Darrell Green’s book. Art Monk a funny guy? This was a special week.

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