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Gibbs: Monk Belongs In Hall

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When discussing Art Monk, Joe Gibbs has always looked beyond the numbers.

Instead, Gibbs recalls a wide receiver who was the consummate team player and a high character individual who many young players emulated.

Most of all, Monk was a player who would do anything it took to win games.

If winning games meant going across the middle of the field to catch a tough pass, then that's what Monk would do.

If winning games meant blocking a 250-pound linebacker so that Joe Theismann, Doug Williams or Mark Rypien had enough time to throw to another wide receiver, then that's what Monk would do.

When the Hall of Fame Board of Selectors meets in Houston to vote on the 2004 finalists, Gibbs hopes they remember those attributes instead of the stats.

It's those qualities, Gibbs said, that made Monk a vital member of the Redskins' three Super Bowl winners from 1982-91.

"Here's the thing a lot of people miss on Art: They're mostly always going off catches and yards and all that," Gibbs said. "The thing you have to remember is that he actually played the inside position and a lot of his catches were right over the middle.

"And there were times when we asked him to actually block in there on pass protection."

Gibbs said he believes that Monk's enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is long overdue.

"When you're looking at the value to a team or the value of the person who's playing--he was a big strong guy who wasn't afraid to go inside and catch the ball in the middle of the field," Gibbs said. "He caught most of his stuff in the middle--I think he had the toughest yards.

"Of course, we could have played him outside all the time, but we didn't do that. I always thought that went to his credit--his stats actually could have been much more."

What about Monk's stats?

In 16 seasons--his first 14 with the Redskins--he caught 940 passes for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns. He became the league's all-time leading receiver in Monday Night game against Denver on Oct. 12, 1992, with his 820th reception. (He has since been surpassed by a host of players.)

Monk, who was 6-3 and 209 pounds during his playing days, shattered other all-time records, too. He set a mark for most catches in one season (106 in 1984) and most consecutive games with receptions (183). Both records have been broken.

Monk still holds Redskins records for most career receptions (888), most single-season receptions (106) and most career receiving yards (12,026).

He earned three consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 1984-86 and also posted nine seasons of 50 or more receptions and five seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

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