It took eight long years of eligibility for Art Monk to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame - but at least the wait is finally over for the Washington Redskins' best receiver ever.
For Redskin fans, it seemed like the day might never come. For years we have been arguing semantics about Monk's enshrinement and about the validity of his career as a 'hall of famer'. If it was tough for the fans, how must it have been for Art himself?
"I wasn't disenchanted -- maybe disappointed," Monk said. "But I knew everything happens in its own time."
Surely even Monk's staunch patience had to be tried over the last eight years - he's seen six wide receivers inducted since he himself became eligible - James Lofton, Steve Largent, Charlie Joiner, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann and Michael Irvin. All of them great receivers, but all of them with fewer receptions than the Redskins' all-time leader in the category put up (940 receptions - 888 with the Redskins).
Much credit for the induction seems to be being thrown in the direction of Sports Illustrated writers' Peter King and 'Dr. Z'. Why? For finally realizing the error of their ways, or for realizing that not doing so was sucking the life out of their credibility as sports journalists? Either way, it would seem that being categorically wrong for eight years is hardly worthy of much celebration. Nor does flip-flopping an opinion seem worthy of praise. Big deal - two guys pulled their heads out of their proverbial behinds - congratulations, enjoy the fresh air.
The fact is that Monk richly deserves to be in Canton - and always has deserved it.
When the native of White Plains, New York retired from the NFL, he was the game's all-time leading receiver (in receptions). For some reason, it seemed that Art was the only member ever up for induction that had to be better than EVERYONE else in the Hall. The trouble is - he was. There isn't a SINGLE wide receiver in the Hall of Fame that has more catches than Art Monk had.
At theHogs.net, there has been a section dedicated to educating people about Art Monk for almost five full years. After all, there seemed to be a lot of people who didn't know things about Monk: such as the fact that he was the FIRST receiver in the NFL to ever have more than 100 receptions in a season (106 - 1984). He also holds the second longest streak ever for consecutive games with a reception at 183 - only the incomparable Jerry Rice had a longer streak.
Twice, Monk had 13 catches in a game - a feat never accomplished by any other Redskin receiver - let alone twice. His 12,026 reception yards for Washington are not only the most ever, but almost 3000 yards more than the next closest Redskin (Charley Taylor). Monk also had 36 career 100-yard reception games - another Redskin-best.
All of the 'logic' in the sports world didn't seem to explain or justify a Monk-less Hall of Fame. Perhaps the only thing that may have contributed to the delay was the fact that Monk himself NEVER campaigned to get in. Why would he? The quiet, unassuming giant was never one to thrust his chest out in a 'me-first' manner. Isn't it ironic that a league like the NFL - so concerned with image and perception - seemed to be kicking sand in the face of an exemplary role model?
But not any more.
No more needs to be written about injustices, and slights, and what makes a hall-of-famer, and whose fault it was that Art wasn't getting his just dues - because he finally is. The greatest wide receiver in Washington Redskins history finally made it to Canton.