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Green, Monk Selected to NFL Hall of Fame


Darrell Green had a short wait for football immortality.

For Art Monk, it was a long time coming.

Both of these Redskins greats were selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2008 on Saturday afternoon.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee met in Phoenix, the site of Super Bowl XLII, on Saturday and voted in Green and Monk, two of the central figures in the Redskins' championship run during the 1980s and early 1990s.

"This is a great day for the Redskins," owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "Two players who personify class in their professional and personal lives are being celebrated at the highest level for the things so cherished by their fans.

"I know I speak for every fan when we say this is so richly deserved."

Green was in his first year of eligibility; Monk made it in his eighth year. Both are among the most popular Redskins in franchise history.

"This is incredible," Green said. "It's so special. This literally transcends football, everything I have gone through to do what I was able to do. It was more than the ability to run and cover. It just goes so far beyond that."

The Redskins selected Green, a 5-8, 185-pound cornerback out of Texas A&I, with the last pick in the first round of the 1983 draft.

The six-time Pro Bowler famously ran down Cowboys' running back Tony Dorsett in his first pro game, securing his status as one of the NFL's fastest players for the next two decades.

He was instrumental in guiding the Redskins to the 1987 Super Bowl XXII title. In the Divisional playoffs against Chicago, he returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown, nursing broken ribs along the way. Then, in the NFC Championship game against Minnesota, he batted away a game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds.

Green, who also was on the Redskins' Super Bowl XXVI championship team, played 20 years with the Redskins, setting franchise marks for most games played (295) and most career interceptions (54).

By the end of his career, he had earned the nickname "ageless wonder."

Monk was a finalist each of the last four years, but voters bypassed him amid much controversy.

The 2008 vote was his time.

"Whether I deserved to have played in the NFL or deserved to even be in the Hall of Fame, I just loved the game," Monk said by cell phone. "I loved being out there and I loved being around the guys. I'm greatly honored and I'm very humbled to receive this honor."

Asked about being passed over the last eight years, Monk replied: "I've always taken the attitude that if it happens, it happens. People in this community were always very excited and optimistic about me getting in, but I always took the approach that I just didn't think about it.

"It would have been nice to get in first year, second year, third year. Whether I got this earlier or later, just the fact that I'm in is really all that matters."

In 16 seasons--his first 14 with the Redskins--Monk caught 940 passes for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns.

A three-time Pro Bowler, he became the league's all-time leading receiver in a Monday Night game against Denver on Oct. 12, 1992, with his 820th reception. (He has since been surpassed by a host of players.)

Monk also holds numerous team records, including most career receptions, most career receiving yards, most receptions in a single game and most receptions in a season.

Monk thrived on the inside, where it's sometimes harder to accumulate yards after catch. Monk was also asked to block to open up rushing lanes downfield for running backs--something at which the 6-3, 210-pounder excelled.

Monk was at his best when his team needed a catch to keep a drive alive. Through the course of his 14 years with the Redskins, Monk converted nearly two-thirds of his 888 catches into first downs.

A former Redskins assistant coach was also among the six voted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Emmitt Thomas, who starred as a cornerback with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1966-78, was an assistant coach for the Redskins from 1986-94. He coached wide receivers coach and then served as a defensive backs coach.

Thomas coached both Monk and Green during his tenure with the Redskins.

Thomas's time with the Redskins included victories in Super Bowls XXII and XXVI.

Green, Monk and Thomas join defensive end Fred Dean, linebacker Andre Tippett and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2008.

The enshrinement ceremony is set for Saturday, Aug. 2, from 6-9 p.m. in Fawcett Stadium, located across the street from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Redskins great Russ Grimm was also among the 17 finalists for the 2008 class, but he was not voted in by the committee. Grimm, an original member of "The Hogs," has been a finalist each of the last three years.

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