Commentary

Wide receiver Art Monk: In the words of ...

Originally Published: August 1, 2008
By Chris Conetzkey

Art MonkJed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesArt Monk at one point was the NFL's all-time leader in receptions and had the record of most receptions in a season with 106, but he was passed over for entry into the Hall of Fame seven times before finally being enshrined.

Teammate Darrell Green
Green, Monk's friend and fellow Hall of Famer, on battling Monk in practice and why he is deserving of the Hall of Fame:

"I knew him from television, watching him when I was in college and seeing the Redskins winning big in 1982. So I had seen him by way of television, and when I got a chance to play against him, I was obviously in awe. ... I think that the competition with him is what helped me become what I am.

"I think that I would just say that with the guys that are in the Hall of Hame -- and I played against a lot of them -- he is every bit as good as they are. His speed, his hands, his route-running, his competitiveness -- I mean goodness, he had the record for catches at one point, and he had the record for most catches in a single season."

Opponent Eric Allen
Allen, who played corner for the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, on matching up with the quiet Art Monk:

[+] EnlargeArt Monk and Eric Allen
US PresswireEric Allen spent many hours trying to learn how Art Monk ran his unique option routes.
"He was what I call a chain mover. He was the guy that was always going to keep the team on the football field. Every time we played the Redskins, you knew he was going to be a pivotal part of the game.

"Only two guys I can remember that were quiet like that on the field, and would never give me the time of day. Because I would try and have a conversation when I was playing. I would talk to the guy and find out where he was at mentally … but Art Monk and Jerry Rice never ever bothered. They were always professionals, always worried about the game, and didn't even give me the time of day."

Art Monk
Monk, on growing up in New York, and the lesson he learned playing youth football:

"I did play Pop Warner football. I played for one year. I was 11 years old. I was convinced to go out with my friends. It was the worst experience I ever had in my life, but in a good way. As much as I loved the game and wanted to play it, because we always played it in the streets, now I was playing organized football.

"It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I mean, it was a lot of hard work, you know, practice, other guys that were just more talented than you. It just kind of woke me up and said, 'Hey, wow, if I'm really going to have to play this game, I'm going to have to change my thinking about it.'

"It was a bad experience, but it was the greatest experience I ever could have had. It kind of changed my whole paradigm and thinking about what I needed to do to be successful at it."

A Story
Eric Allen on trying to prepare for Monk:

"He had a certain way of running routes later in his career. He would basically option off of where the defender was. And it was just such a difficult task. And one offseason, I got all his film -- and he doesn't know this -- and I'd go over his routes, and try and run his routes myself so I would kind of understand what he was doing. I almost broke my ankle a couple times.

"He would run and he would jump up and as soon as he would land, he would just take off opposite of where you were. As he was doing this, no one else in the league was really doing that, everybody else was running normal routes. But about three or four years later, guess who started to do that -- Cris Carter."