When the news of the first coaching departure from the Washington Redskins was announced—wide receiver coach Ike Hilliard accepting a position with the Buffalo Bills—my first thought was obviously, "Who's going to replace him?" Why not hire one of the most beloved Redskins of all time—NFL Hall of Fame member Art Monk?
Little did I know that this outside chance and wishful thinking on my part might not be as farfetched as I originally thought. During the weekend of the NFL Championship Games, Monk was on the sideline of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, held Jan. 19, as the inside receiver coach for the American team.
One of the NFL's most respected and all-time leading receivers, Monk is the all-time leading Redskins receiver in catches and yards. His 888 receptions as a receiver—two-thirds for first downs—and 12,026 yards over a brilliant 14-season run from 1980 to 1993 stand alone in team history.
Monk held three records at one time—most career catches, catches in a single season and consecutive games with a reception.
At the time of his retirement, Monk held seven franchise records. He spent his last two years in the league with one-year stints with the New York Jets in 1994 and Philadelphia Eagles in 1995. After breaking his arm in the final regular-season game with the Eagles and sitting out in 1996, Monk signed a one-day contract with the Redskins in 1997 and retired from the NFL with the 'Skins.
Throughout his illustrious career, Art Monk raised the bar at the receiving position. Monk was the Redskins' top pick in the 1980 NFL draft and went on to be named to the NFL all-rookie team with 58 catches.
Monk had 50-plus receptions in nine of 13 seasons, 1000-plus receiving yards five times—including three straight seasons from 1984-87—and was named to the Pro Bowl in the 1985, '86 and '87 seasons. His best season was undoubtedly in 1984, when he recorded an NFL-record 106 receptions and a career best 1,306 yards.
He was part of three Washington Redskins Super Bowl wins, was named to the 1980s All-Decade Team and was selected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2008 and the College Football Hall of Fame (Syracuse) in December 2012. After seven years as a finalist, his NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2008 included a much-deserved ovation—the longest standing ovation in Pro Football Hall of Fame history.
With Monk on the sideline coaching at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, is he possibly putting himself out there as a candidate for consideration? His success after football is noted and respected by many in the Redskins community and by fans in and around the Washington D.C. suburbs.
In 1983, the Art Monk Football Camp opened during the offseason to provide youth an opportunity to learn firsthand from NFL greats. The teaching camp includes current and former NFL players and still thrives, having graduated over 14,000 athletes.
After retiring, Monk and former Redskins Charles Mann, Tim Johnson and Earnest Byner opened the Good Samaritan Foundation, which is designed to "prepare youth for leadership in the community and workplace."
In May 2012, Monk joined an ever-increasing list of former NFL players to file a lawsuit against the league in their handling of concussions.
With his 15 years of NFL experience and desire to teach and instruct, along with his professionalism and dedication to the game, Art Monk could be an valuable asset not only to the team but also to the organization as it builds upon the success of the 2012 season.
His achievements on and off the field could only strengthen a young team which can appreciate and apply words of wisdom from someone regarded as one of the best at his position in the history of the NFL.