Redskins Hall of Famers Know It's Canton or Bust

Darrell Green, front, and Art Monk, background, will soon join Bobby Mitchell, Sonny Jurgensen and other Redskins greats in their own bronze age.
Darrell Green, front, and Art Monk, background, will soon join Bobby Mitchell, Sonny Jurgensen and other Redskins greats in their own bronze age. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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Sunday, July 13, 2008; Page D02

Bobby Mitchell and Sonny Jurgensen, former Redskins and members of the exclusive club known as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, were sitting around the Lansdowne Resort on Friday discussing the merits of cornerback Darrell Green and wide receiver Art Monk, who in three weeks join them in their Canton, Ohio, sanctuary.

"Darrell was so quick he could make a mistake and still catch up to the ball," Jurgensen said. "Art was fast and a big playmaker."

Mitchell's view: "The first time I met Darrell in 1983 when I was working in the Redskins' front office, I thought, 'I can't believe [GM] Bobby Beathard drafted this little kid.' Darrell then talked to me for 90 minutes, made me believe in him and trust him."

Mitchell, one of the few Hall of Fame members who excelled at two positions -- running back and wide receiver -- was asked how he would have dealt with Green. "You would never outrun him, so you'd leave your ego at the door. Quick, fast moves. Short stuff. No chance at beating him with a bomb."

And Monk? "He was big and strong. A corner could only hope to bump him," Mitchell said.

"It's all very exciting for me," Monk said. "Darrell and I would practice against each other every day. He was tough; we made each other better."

Mitchell, 73, is in his 18th year of hosting today's golf tournament at Lansdowne that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, drawing on longtime friendships to attract about 40 Hall of Famers to the event. For a $5 donation, fans get an opportunity to hang out with many of the greatest players in NFL history and watch them golf.

Jurgensen, 73, one of the NFL's all-time best passers and a member of the Redskins' broadcast team, recently had surgery to remove a melanoma ("the size of a baseball") from his right shoulder. "I'm just so glad Art and Darrell are being inducted together, as Bobby and I were in 1983," Jurgensen said.

In a ballroom that also included former Redskins Charley Taylor, 66, and Ken Houston, 63, Jurgensen wistfully noted: "Our class is graduating."

Kastles Made of Sand

Has it really been 34 years since Billie Jean King introduced the "TeamTennis Pro League" -- now called World TeamTennis -- to the country? The venerable pioneer of women's tennis, now 64, was in Washington on Tuesday night with about 2,200 fans to inaugurate the Washington Kastles' first season in WTT with a match against the Boston Lobsters at Kastles Stadium at CityCenter DC.

It took 33 years for baseball to return to Washington. But that's about how long it's taken King to find the right time, right place and right investor (43-year-old entrepreneur Mark Ein) to put a WTT team in tennis-appreciative D.C.

"We had to work with the existing tournaments [i.e., Donald Dell's Legg Mason] and fitting a schedule into our one-month calendar of a season," King explained amid the din of a boisterous match in which the Serena Williams-led Kastles lost to Boston, 22-19.

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