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At Last, No Debating Their Hall Pass

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Monk was there, always, from the beginning to the end. Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic and Monk. Even before Green, Monk was there.

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Heck, one season before Gibbs arrived Monk was there. Monk was football's Cal Ripken. He didn't score a bunch of touchdowns because Gibbs didn't throw the ball in from the 5-yard line, he ran it in. Brown and Clark had greater yards-per-reception numbers in large part because Monk did so much dirty work underneath. He didn't have as many circus catches because he was where he was supposed to be more often than other great receivers and didn't have to be an acrobat.

We claim in today's sporting culture to value players who shut up and do what the coach asks for the good of the team, sacrificing personal statistics and goals for the good of the team. Then, at Hall of Fame selection time, we in the selection room too often asked, "Where are his stats?" Monk, if he played basketball, would have been perfect for the San Antonio Spurs.

I never became friends with Art Monk, haven't had one lengthy conversation with him to this day even though I've covered sports in this town for 28 years and arrived in D.C. the same summer Monk arrived. He didn't have much to say to reporters during his playing days, which was fine with me. But the failure to enshrine Monk angered me every single year, probably more than it should have. I called Gibbs in 2004 and told him he had to help me construct an argument that would help get Monk elected. Despite Gibbs's best efforts, it didn't.

I always seemed more ticked off about those unsuccessful selection Saturdays than did Monk, who was remarkably gracious despite the snubs.

He wrote me a note one year that said essentially, "Thanks for the effort . . . now stop worrying about it."

Even with Monk and Green being enshrined, the Redskins of the first Gibbs era are a little short on representation. Riggins, Monk and Green are in. No way a member of the most dominant offensive line of its time, probably Grimm, shouldn't be in as well.

But making the Hall of Fame is difficult, much more difficult than winning the Super Bowl. Probably, that's as it should be. Some of my colleagues are fond of saying, usually when rejecting somebody's candidacy, "It's not the Hall of Very Good, it's the Hall of Fame." Green and Monk, going in together, are joining the most exclusive of company.


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