Q& A Art Monk
Quiet Star Takes Spotlight Once More
Art Monk will be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame tomorrow as part of the Class of 2008. The steady wide receiver played 14 seasons with Washington and was part of three Super Bowl champions. He set a then-NFL record with 106 receptions in 1984 and also established a personal single-season high of 1,372 receiving yards. Monk finished his career with 940 catches -- an NFL record at the time -- and 12,721 yards, including a then-record 164 straight games with a reception.
The Post's Jason Reid spoke with Monk about his playing days, his charity work and induction into the Hall of Fame.
Q: Let's talk about how important this is, for you to be [at the Bobby Mitchell tournament].
Monk: I'm here to support Bobby Mitchell in his efforts to support [the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society] and obviously this a tournament that he's been having for quite some time with the Hall of Famers. All of us all these years have sort of been on the outside looking in and now to be on the inside, to be part of it, it's just a great honor.
Q: Charitable work is nothing new to you. Can you talk about how important it is for you to give back, because you really are one of the people in this community that really does give back a lot.
Monk: Oh, you know, both Darrell and I have organizations that we work with inner-city youth, and we felt all along that it's important not to just to receive from the community. And what we've done as athletes is also to give back to the people that support us all these years and so, you know, we saw a need in the inner city, and we started organizations to help adjust those needs.
Q: Obviously, you're going into the Hall of Fame this year, something that's long overdue and very well deserved. How is this whole lead-up to the Hall of Fame been for you and obviously going in with your friend and teammate Darrell Green?
Monk: You know, they say be careful what you ask for [laughs], and it's kind of been like that. You know, the Hall of Fame is great, but there's so much. There's a lot of excitement and of all that around it, but there's a lot of work behind it as well. And it's been a lot traveling and a lot of, just, things that are just kind of tiring, and frankly at this point I'll just be glad when it's over [laughs].
Q: How about for your family? You're a private person, and you're a very distinguished person. How has this been for your family all this, you know, focus, attention, that type of thing?
Monk: You know, it's just comes with territory, I mean, I'm used to that even though I'm private, not a very outspoken, not a very out-front kind of guy. And during this time it's hard to keep that privacy because there's so much to demand our time right now. But it's all part of it, I mean, I'm used to this, I can do it, it's no problem for me. My family right now is in Florida enjoying themselves while I'm here, but soon after this I'll go right back with them and relax a little bit.
Q: You know, you talk about you and Darrell. What is it like going in with Darrell? I mean, I know you said before it's a special thing, but talk about being so close now and just about to go in with him.
Monk: Oh, for me and I would assume for him, too, it's more than just both of us going in that we were teammates. We were far more than just teammates. I mean, we played together. Yes, we worked hard together, but we also served this community together. Like I said, we have these organizations, but we're family, you know. His kids call me uncle, my kids call him uncle. We do things together, we fellowship, go to church together. We do everything together, so for us to go in together this way it just makes it that much more special outside of the fact that we just played together.
Q: When you talk about you and Darrell and those battles in practice, who would usually win those?
Monk:[Laughs] Well, I'm going to say I won them. And he's probably going to say he won them. But I think, you know, to be honest, we both benefited from those challenges that we had against each other, made each one of us better. Obviously he's a great cornerback, and I needed someone like that to help me prepare for games and, obviously, vice versa. And, you know, he won a few, I won a few . . . but despite who won, we both won because we made each other better.
Q: What's the greatest moment of your career? As you look to all the accomplishments, the yards, the touchdowns, the catches, the Super Bowls, can you pinpoint what was the greatest moment or the series of greatest moments?
Monk: Of my career?
Monk: Probably something that's sort of not on-the-field-related but off-the-field-related. I mean, it's great to be an athlete, and you want people to enjoy what you do and get excited and all of that. But just the fact that after I retired and this whole Hall of Fame thing and not making it [for several years] to see how the community really responded to that and supported me, I think that's probably the best part, for me, of my career to know that people enjoyed and respected and appreciated me more than just being an athlete, but just as a person.