Throwing to Hall of Famers: Talking With Joe Theismann About Monk and Green

I noticed Joe Theismann on the field at practice today, asking questions for his upcoming stint covering the team on the non-national preseason TV broadcasts. I tried to snap a picture, which was tough as it was a “no camera” time of practice (hence the rushed, blurry photo), and made a mental note to talk to him on the field.

Theismann talking to Clinton Portis.

Theismann talking to Clinton Portis.

I didn’t get the chance, and was pretty annoyed by the missed opportunity, especially since I didn’t even a decent photo to use in lieu of a full post.

One of the bizarre things about working at Redskins Park, though, is that when you’re walking down the hall to ask someone a totally unrelated question, you can accidentally bump into a Super-Bowl-winning-QB-turned-broadcaster and get a few minutes of his time.

Theismann was on his way to do further research, so I was forced to keep the questions to a minimum, but he was every bit as loquacious as I’d heard, and didn’t skimp on the answers.

Real quick before we get to the Hall of Famers, what did you see out on the field today?

I’ve been here since day one of camp, and I just see the tempo improving. I see a lot of guys playing football versus thinking. And the thing about a football player is, when you think too much, you’re going to react a little slower. I see a lot more playing football here now, and a lot less thinking … and that’s a good thing.

Okay. On to Monk and Green. Was there a point in either of their careers where you looked at them and said, “Hey, these guys are all-time greats?”

Y’know, no, I’ll be honest with you. You never know, because … you just don’t know. Injury plays into how long you’re going to play this game. Both of them were extremely durable which allowed them to enjoy tremendous careers. A lot of guys who get into this game are very talented, but for one reason or another, they can’t play over a consistent long period of time.

I look at Hall of Famers, and I look at a guy like Art Monk, a guy who was our Move Guy. Everything that John Riggins was to our running game, Art was to our passing game. He was the staple, the big-play guy, the Move Guy. He was the guy that we asked EVERYTHING of.

So the fact that he didn’t go in a lot sooner, I’ve been upset as can be over. But I’m at peace now. I’m at peace with the Hall of Fame system, I’m at peace with the writers who vote, I think it’s great. Long overdue but well-deserved.

In Darrell’s case, there was just this quickness about him that jumped out at you. Art was a running back coming out of Syracuse and he WORKED on his skills to become a Hall of Fame receiver. Darrell had great natural talent. He was the quickest guy I’d every worked against, and it made me a much better QB, because if I was late, he’d be around the ball. So he really made me more precise in what I needed to do, and you could see all that in his natural talent.

The reason Darrell is in the Hall of Fame is, number one, he played for so many years, and, secondly, he played at the highest LEVEL for so many years. It wasn’t like he had two or three good years. You could take Darrell’s best year and Darrell’s worst year, and you’ll see very little difference.

The general word on Art Monk is that he’s a quiet guy—

Quiet is an overstatement for Art.

Right. But the team always seemed to rally around him, they spoke well about him when he was injured in 1982 … was he more personable in the locker room than in public?

No! No. The other day someone asked me to tell a story about Art Monk, and I said the story about Art Monk is that there IS no story. I can’t think of one thing that I could honestly say, “This was Art Monk” or “This is ABOUT Art Monk.” I can’t think of it.

People have asked me. I wish I could tell you.

I describe Art as … Art was Jerry Rice before there was Jerry Rice. People equate Jerry Rice with impeccable work ethic, and tremendous performance. Art was that way and never got the notoriety, and he never sought notoriety.

Through all the Hall of Fame questions we’ve raised about why he’s not in, you never heard one word from Art Monk. It’s all of us that have supported him through the years that have talked about it, but you never heard one thing from Art Monk, and that’s a testament to him. He’s always remained true to his beliefs.

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4 Responses

  1. nice work Matt. good questions and got him to give you good responses. keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks, Matt! Hope you don’t get into trouble for the cough..Pic..cough…. !

  3. Thanks Matt.
    It’s nice to have an insider at Redskins Park.

  4. “I see a lot more playing football here now, and a lot less thinking … and that’s a good thing.”

    — Best news I’ve read all week. Keep up the good work, Matt.

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