Sunday, August 3, 2008

Long Time Coming

Art Monk had to wait eight years to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

What was another four minutes?

When Monk was introduced Saturday night at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, the decidedly Redskins crowd gave him a four-minute standing ovation. All the years, all the controversy, were washed away as a sea of burgundy and gold showered Monk with deserved love.

That Monk joined former teammate Darrell Green in Canton enshrinement -- and the Redskins beat the Colts 30-16 Sunday night in the Hall of Fame Game -- made the weekend even more special for Washington, D.C. sports fans. The weekend was so special, in fact, the Washington Nationals swept the Cincinnati Reds to end a nine-game losing streak.

But D.C. is, and one might argue always has been, a Redskins town. And on Saturday, so was Canton. This isn't the time to argue that Monk should've been in sooner -- even though he held nearly every significant NFL receiving record before Jerry Rice -- for the argument is now pointless. Why argue Monk's worthiness when he stood next to a bust of himself, wearing a gold jersey?

That it took Monk eight years doesn't matter. That he is finally a Hall of Famer does.

Ir's almost unfair to think of Green as an afterthought, considering his emotional, 25-minute speech and the fact that he was a first-ballot selection. But Green, the Redskins' franchise leader in interceptions and once known as the Fastest Man in the NFL, had nothing on sentimental favorite Monk.

How beloved is Monk? Over the past few days, I've heard Dallas Cowboy fans praising him and saying he deserved to be enshrined sooner. And when Cowboy fans start talking nice about the Redskins -- you can guarantee no Redskin fans made nice last year when Michael Irvin was inducted -- you know the guy's special.

Monk was that guy. And Saturday was a special day for a special team and a special player.

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