He was an example in other ways as well. Redskins assistant coach Wayne Sevier once showed his special teams film clips of Monk catching a first-down pass, then colliding with defensive backs to get an extra yard or two. Sevier told his players that Monk played the game the way it was meant to be played.
"Here's a guy going to the Hall of Fame," Sevier said. "If he's willing to do it, you've got to be willing to do it."
He provided the Redskins with memories that fans will carry for a lifetime. The record-breaking 106 catches in the 1984 season. The 13 catches against Detroit in a 1990 game. The 230 receiving yards in a game against Cincinnati in 1985. Monk became the NFL's all-time receiving leader when he caught his 820th career ball on October 12, 1992, on an emotional night at RFK Stadium. He passed Seattle's Steve Largent that night, but Monk's record later was broken by San Francisco's Jerry Rice.
Near the end of his career, he received standing ovations just for walking on the practice field at training camp. When he appeared on a radio call-in show in 1991, fans didn't ask questions so much as give testimonials, letting him know how much he was appreciated.
"We honored him at the Pigskin Club one time," Bobby Mitchell said. "It was something to see how the people felt about this guy. It's an awesome thing. When he walked in, a hush fell over the room. I've watched guys through the years Riggo, Larry Brown, all the great ones. I've never seen this type thing. I had him on my show a couple weeks ago and it was the same thing. The calls weren't about football. They just wanted to tell him how they felt about him."
Monk grew up in White Plains, N.Y., the second cousin of the late jazz legend Thelonius Monk. He learned to play four instruments the bass guitar, the drums, the baritone trombone and the tuba though "I dropped all that a long time ago."
After leaving the Redskins in 1994, Monk played a season with the New York Jets and part of one with the Philadelphia Eagles. At a special 1997 event at which he signed another Redskins contract and then a release from it, Monk retired as a Redskin and will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
In brief remarks during a testimonial dinner in 1993, Monk told a Washington audience: