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Art Monk Honored By Football Legends Award

Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Monk was in Bethesda, Md., on Saturday to accept the Washington Football Legends' "Bobby Mitchell Champion Of The Gridiron" award.

By now, Art Monk's "silent assassin" persona on the field has reached legendary status, as the Redskins wide receiver let his play do the talking all the way to his enshrinement into the Pro Football of Fame.

But don't let his quiet ways fool you. Like anybody else, Monk certainly had his frustrations throughout his 16-year career, the first 14 of which he spent in Washington, D.C.

And when times got tough, Monk knew exactly who he could go to for advice: Bobby Mitchell.

On Saturday, Monk accepted the Washington Football Legends "Bobby Mitchell Champion of the Gridiron" award at the organization's seventh-annual scholarship gala, and said the recognition was extra special because of its namesake.

"Bobby was like a father to a lot of us," Monk told of Mitchell, a legendary Redskins flanker who spent more than 30 years as a team front office executive. "(There were) a lot of days where he was near for us to vent our frustrations to. But he always listened and he was always supportive, always encouraging."

Monk began his storied career with the Redskins in 1980, when the Syracuse product was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. He would make an immediate impact for an up-and-coming Washington team, catching 58 passes his rookie year to earn All-Rookie honors.

He would go on to catch 50 or more passes nine times – breaking the 1,000-yard receiving mark five times – and, upon his retirement after the 1995 season, his 940 career receptions were a league record.

Monk was also a key part of an extremely successful run for the Redskins in the 1980s and early 90s, helping lead the team to four Super Bowls, winning three.

Through it all, Monk went about his business quietly and efficiently – a persona not adopted by many others at his position.

"Art was a quiet guy, but he wasn't quiet on the football field," Redskins great defensive lineman Dexter Manley said Saturday evening. "He has a heart as big as Godzilla, and Art was always a great performer, but a quiet guy. For a guy to be so quiet and play like a giant, it was unbelievable."

Manley wasn't the only former teammate raving about Monk at Saturday's event in Bethesda, Md. Former tight end Rick "Doc" Walker said Monk was "the hardest working guy I've ever been around," and quarterback Doug Williams said of Monk: "He's the epitome of the Washington Redskins team."

Several past Redskins players joined head coach Jay Gruden and many other guests at the seventh annual Washington Football Legends Scholarship Gala March 28, 2015, at the North Bethesda Marriott.

"When you think about Bobby Mitchell what comes to mind is that he was the first African-American to play with the Washington Redskins, but [it's] what he stood for," said Williams, the MVP of Super Bowl XXII. "For Art to be getting this award tonight, I can't think of anybody else more deserving than Art Monk. He's probably one of the quietest assassins on the field that I've ever seen in my life. He just went about his business, minded his business and didn't worry about anyone else but the team."

Monk's style of play and dominance continues to amaze to this day. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden – who is entering his second season in 2015 – said Monk's consistency year in and year out set him apart from others around him.

"That's how we're trying to model our team around, being consistent both on the field and off the field," Gruden said. "Every game, every year, Art brought it. His numbers has proved that and backed that up. [He] never took a day off."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Monk isn't too interested in talking about himself. But he was excited to spend an evening with his old teammates and friends on Saturday.

"Well, usually when you retire, you usually fade into the background. Everybody kind of goes their own way," he said. "Some of us have remained very close, and we still keep in touch. But, a lot of us guys we kind of lost touch with. So, it's great to come back with events like this where everyone is kind of there and to kind of catch up on old times, tell old stories and laugh, and just have fun."

Being recognized at the event was just icing on the cake, Monk said.

"This is a very special award," he said. "Getting an award is special, but the fact it has [Mitchell's] name on it makes it even more special to me."


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