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Monk, Green Reflect On Hall of Fame Honor

For Art Monk and Darrell Green, it was an evening of reflection, friendship, laughter and great memories.

Monk and Green, both elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last Saturday, were honored at Redskins Park on Tuesday afternoon in a special press conference and reception.

Green, still in a joyous mood from a whirlwind weekend after the Hall of Fame announcement in Phoenix, talked freely. He took to the podium and joked with Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder and former teammates from the stage.

On the other side, Monk was pointed in his comments. The soft-spoken Redskins great does not speak publicly very often, so his words were eagerly anticipated.

Monk, overlooked for eight years by Hall of Fame voters, was humble and said that he was not expecting to be elected this year.

"It really took me by surprise," Monk said. "I really was not expecting it, although I knew there was a lot of anticipation from the community. I had just written it off, like I had done the last few years. So it completely took me off guard."

Monk said he has spent quiet moments reflecting on what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"When you get past the media attention, you think about statistics, you think about putting 'HOF' after your name and taking advantage the marketing opportunities that come with all of this. But that's not what I imagine it to really be.

"Really, when I think of the Hall of Fame, I think of Charley Taylor and Sam Huff, guys who have gone before us. They made sacrifices and overcome adversities. They made a commitment to the game and the sport. They represented their teams and the NFL respectfully.

"So when you think of it that way, it's an awesome responsibility. It's not just a title. It's a responsibility--the same responsibility I tried to take on as a Redskin. Being a Redskin meant something to me. It wasn't just a team to play for. And I tried to represent myself with decency, with character and serve as an example to this community."

Monk, who played for the Redskins from 1980-93 and is the franchise's all-time leader in receptions, thanked fans for their encouragement over the years.

One moment remains etched in his memory.

The Redskins were playing the St. Louis Cardinals at RFK Stadium and Monk was running a deep pattern down the right sideline.

"I had my defender beat by five yards, as usual," he said, as the crowd laughed at his rare display of boasting. "Joe [Theismann] threw me a great pass--a beautiful, high-arching pass--right down into my hands. And I dropped it. It would have been a 60-yard touchdown.

"Upon dropping it, I just collapsed to the ground. And laying there for probably just two seconds--it seemed like forever--there was dead silence in the stadium. Absolute silence. And when I stood up to head back to the huddle, my head down, everybody just began to applaud me.

"That just did something to me with this community. I'm so committed to this community."

Monk worked with another Redskins great Charles Mann to establish the Good Samaritan Foundation, which helps youths to become leaders in the community and the workplace.

Green also has been active in the community with the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation, a group that helps disadvantaged youth.

Green played 20 years with the Redskins and earned seven Pro Bowls while establishing himself as a top cover cornerback.

"This Redskins organization has been a blessing for me," Green said. "I would have never moved to the Washington, D.C. area in a million years--I'm from Texas. I tell you what, I thank God that he put me in the right place. God told me to stay here and somehow I continued to play for all of those years.

"It has been a great ride. We are blessed. What have we really done, that people would love us the way they do? We have been overpaid with love and kindness and respect and all that God has given to us."

Redskins greats were out in force to help honor Monk and Green.

Charley Taylor, Dexter Manley, Sam Huff, Joe Jacoby, Roy Jefferson, Gary Clark and Brian Mitchell were among the Redskins legends on hand.

Taylor and Huff are Hall of Famers themselves, and they will help welcome Monk and Green into the Hall of Fame next August.

"When they put on the yellow jacket (signifying Hall of Fame induction], that means they made it," Taylor said, jokingly. "They haven't made it yet."

At the end of the press conference, Clark approached the stage and spoke directly to his former teammates as the crowd looked on.

"I have never seen two people who have been loved so much, and it comes from how you played the game and what you did do in the community for people to love you and respect you," Clark said. "There were a lot of guys who played extremely hard, by your side, but never achieved the kind of respect you guys deserve, because of the way you live your life and the way that you played the game.

"I take my hat off to both of you guys because you are all a tribute to the Redskins legacy. You played the game the way it should have been played: all heart, all 100 percent, giving it all you have and respecting people outside of the game as well."

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