Green, Monk Voted Into Hall Of Fame
Sunday, February 3, 2008
PHOENIX, Feb. 2 -- They clutched each other's hand hard in a giant room in the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday afternoon, husband and wife, even though it was obvious to everyone around Darrell and Jewell Green that the announcement on the television before them was a formality. A Washington Redskin for 20 seasons, Darrell Green was going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But when the voice on screen called his name, husband and wife screamed. Their children screamed. The owner of the team, Daniel Snyder, screamed. And the yells went on so long that for a moment they forgot to listen for the other name they so desperately wanted to hear.
"What about Art?" Snyder asked.
Everyone stopped. Yes, what about Art Monk, the Redskins' wide receiver through three Super Bowl seasons, so dependable, the holder of so many NFL records, yet for seven years always just short of a Hall of Fame selection? Art Monk, their fellow leader at Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly and a man too private to be here, too?
What about Art? The question hung in the air.
Then someone nodded. "Art made it," a voice said. And there came a cheer again just as a security guard pushed open the door and called for the Greens to head to a news conference. As they pushed through, the senior pastor of Grace Covenant, Brett Fuller, curled himself against the wall, dialed a number in Great Falls, and yelled into the voice mailbox of Monk's wife, Desire¿: "Art, congratulations! You made it!"
Later, after a television host called Green to a stage before huge pictures of the six newest members of the Hall of Fame, including Emmitt Thomas, once a coach to both players in Washington, the host scanned the photos and exclaimed: "It's a Redskin day right now."
To which Darrell Green replied: "It is a Redskin day."
They had assumed this day was coming. Green, in his first year of eligibility for the Hall, was a certainty to be elected by a committee of sportswriters -- one from each NFL city and several at-large -- but Monk's case had been a source of consternation around Washington. How was it that the player who once held NFL records with 106 receptions in a season and 164 consecutive games with a catch was not in the Hall?
Voters had long complained he was not what football people call "a deep threat" but rather a "possession receiver" who mostly caught short passes for first downs rather than long touchdowns. But all that was forgotten Saturday, just as the news slipped by that another Redskins teammate of Green and Monk -- Russ Grimm -- did not get elected. A speakerphone was hooked up on the stage where Green stood and Monk was placed on the line.
"You are a great receiver and a great friend. Art Monk, you have the floor!" Green shouted.
Monk laughed lightly into the phone. He had never enjoyed the attention, never talked much about the Hall of Fame even as others did around him.