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Rick Gosselin from the Dallas Morning News is an outspoken voter against Art Monk, or at least has no trouble suggesting that he won't be supporting Monk's candidacy. For instance, Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign has him listed as a 3, which means "Likely No" on Monk's enshrinement. I emailed Rick around a year ago and I believe his official policy on discussing Monk with fans, outside of organized Q&As, is that he simply won't. At least that was what he told me months ago. Some Redskins fans had mistreated him in the past via email, apparently, and now he'd just as soon not discuss it any longer with us. Fine.

First the good news, from a WFAA Q&A in which Rick participated:

milo: Who are your favorites to make the HOF this year?

Rick Gosselin: With no elite quarterback or running back on the ballot, it's wide open. I do think Denver offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman should get in and I'd be surprised if at least two pass rushers don't get in from this group: Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Charles Haley, Ricky Jackson, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett. I also think Redskins cornerback Darrell Green will be a first-ballot selection.

We'll see, won't we. Darrell Green should be a first-ballot selection.

Hold the applause though. As nice as it is to see Rick acknowledge a deserving HoF Redskin, Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign reminded less than a month ago that he's on the wrong side of the Art Monk debate. From an October 18th Dallas Morning News Q&A:

From e-mail: In your recent From the 50, you wrote how Shannon Sharpe might no longer be a lock for the Hall of Fame because by the time he's eligible, his stats won't look as impressive when compared to other TEs (like Tony Gonzalez, etc.). I think that's unfair because you shouldn't compare stats from different eras. A player should be judged statistically based on the era he played in. And Art Monk should be in the HOF. Period.

Chuck

Rick Gosselin: That's your opinion on Monk, and it's not shared by the voters. Seven times he's been a finalist and seven times he has missed the cut. With the explosion of statistics on offense, I think the voters are taking a longer, harder look at the stats and trying to determine if the player was all about numbers or impact. That's why it's been so hard for wide outs to get in lately. If the Buffalo Bills had won one Super Bowl, I think Andre Reed would have been in by now. And this committee has only voted to enshrine seven tight ends in the game's history. In the end, I think Sharpe gets in. The Broncos are underrepresented as it is. They've been to six Super Bowls in their history and have just one player enshrined (John Elway). When they get a quality candidate, he should get in. Sharpe is a quality candidate.

Many voters are outspoken supporters of Art Monk. That might not be the feeling of a few voters, such as Gosselin. But some of the ones who were formerly against Monk have either come around (Peter King) or are softening to the thought (Dr. Z). Progress is being made.

Regarding this offensive explosion, I don't see why that should effect Monk at all. It was an offensive explosion for receivers that happened after Monk. He was the most prolific receiver in the NFL's history. That's a relative judgment; he simply had more catches than any of his peers. He had a 100 yard reception season when Jerry Rice was still in college. There's no reason why an offensive explosion, birthed after Monk was in his prime, should have any impact whatsoever on him being in the Hall of Fame. But even were we to consider that fact, his three Super Bowl rings should more than make up for the fact that he now has fewer receptions than 5 players in the history of the NFL. None of those players started their NFL careers in 1980. Before Art Monk, none of those players, nor had any player, caught 100 passes in a single season. If an offensive explosion occurred, it did so in virtue of a guy like Art Monk, not in spite of him.

More importantly than all that, the Hall of Fame exists to tell the story of American Professional Football. That story already includes Steve Largent and his contribution to the sport. Somehow the Hall is going to have to tell the Jerry Rice story, of the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL, without explaining who it was that distinguished the Steve Largent era from the  Jerry Rice era, because Rice didn't break Largent's all-time receptions record. I guess it will say, "Among other things, Jerry Rice set the all time receptions record by breaking, uh... he's great. Move along." It's your history, NFL.