Catches down, but Monk says he's as good as ever

December 25, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- Art Monk can't figure it out, either.

The veteran Washington Redskins wide receiver is baffled by his lack of production in recent games. He has caught only one pass in each of the past three games and 11 in the past seven.

"There are a lot of variables," he said this week. "It's hard to really say what the problem is. I really can't worry about it."

Coach Joe Gibbs and quarterback Mark Rypien say they are puzzled about his failure to get the ball in recent games.

They agree on one thing: Monk hasn't lost it at age 35.

Gibbs and Rypien said it's not Monk's fault, and Monk said in one of his rare interviews that he thinks he is better than ever before.

"I have more knowledge of the game, more experience. I hope I'm a better player than when I first came into the league," he said.

Monk said losing speed isn't a factor because he never had much in the first place.

"I don't have the blazing speed of a Darrell Green or some of the other receivers around the league, but I feel good. I still think I can get down the field," he said.

Gibbs said Monk is handling the situation well in the talks they've had recently, and Monk said: "It's disappointing. It's something I don't have any control of, other than I just have to go out there and do the best job I can."

Monk will be eligible for free agency under the new agreement the owners hope to complete Monday, but he said, "The contract the last thing on my mind."

said he was surprised the players are on the verge of getting free agency.

"We once had it a long time ago, and we gave it up and we were never in that position to really get it back," he said.

Monk said he doesn't know how long he wants to play.

just take it one year at a time right now," he said. "I still feel great. I still enjoy being out there. I think those are the two most important things."

One of Monk's records -- his single-season mark of 106 catches set in 1984 -- may be broken this week by the Green Bay Packers' Sterling Sharpe, who is going into the finale with 102 catches.

Monk said he wishes Sharpe well.

"I'm happy for him," Monk said. "It's not my record to keep. Whoever else has the opportunity to break it, I'd like someone else to be able to experience the excitement and joy I had breaking it. I had it for a while.

Now it's time for someone else to come along and take the torch."

Monk said setting the record was one of the highlights of his career.

"Any time you accomplish something like that that no one has ever done before, it's always a thrill," he said.

"It's an honor. It's very exciting. You want to see somebody else experience the same thing."

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