For some, it was grueling eight-year wait. When is Art Monk going to finally be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? The question was raised by seemingly countless Washington fans who watched 14 of his 16 seasons as a top NFL wide receiver.
Monk tried very hard to avoid being caught up in the emotional roller coaster, but it was impossible unless he chose to never go out in public during the wait that finally ended in 2008.
‘Hard to get away from it’
“I never saw myself as a Hall-of-Famer, first of all, so I didn’t really have the expectations and high hopes of getting in,” he told Howard Balzer and Mike Haynes on Hall of Fame Radio. “However, the community of which I live in — the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area — had very high expectations and were very excited and hopeful and just knew that I would get in the first ballot like Darrell Green did. But it took me longer than that, and so I just didn’t let it bother me. I took the approach where, if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And I just went on about my business.
“But it was hard for me to get away from it, because every time I left my house, someone was approaching me talking about it. ‘How come when?’ … So it’s tough. You know it’s a possibility and everybody’s talking about it, so you get the idea that it’s going to happen and when it doesn’t happen, then it’s a letdown, not only for myself but for the community as well.”
‘Just be patient’
Monk has the following advice for other former NFL players waiting for that phone call notifying them that they have made it to Canton: “Just be patient.”
“I wasn’t the only receiver that played in the NFL,” he said. “I mean, there’s hundreds of guys who have come through, who have played well, have had great seasons, great careers. Almost everybody is deserving. If you point at all the receivers who haven’t made it, you could say, ‘Well, how come he didn’t make it?’ Or, ‘How come he didn’t make it?’ There’s a lot of them. So you just have to realize that it’s just the nature of the beast that there are so many guys out there that deserve to get in. Not everybody can get in at the same time. So you may have to wait a year, two years, three years, 10 years, 15 years, which some guys do. But eventually you get in.
“So, really, you just have to be patient and not get your hopes up high for a big letdown every year. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You just go on about your day.”