Pitt Shut Out For Hall Of Fame

Former Pitt players Russ Grimm and Marshall Goldberg were denied election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame once again, as six players were inducted to the 2008 class Saturday during Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix, Ariz.

Despite the omission Russ Grimm from Pittsburgh in his 12th year of eligibility, two former Washington Redskins made the final cut. Wide receiver Art Monk headlined the new class and was joined by cornerbacks Darrell Green, his former Redskins teammate, and Emmitt Thomas, defensive end Fred Dean, linebacker Andre Tippett and tackle Gary Zimmerman.

Monk was a key part of the powerful Washington teams of the 1980s, winning three Super Bowls with the Redskins in four trips, along with Grimm.

In 1984, Monk caught eight or more passes in six games, had five games of 100 yards or more and in a game against the San Francisco 49ers caught 10 passes for 200 yards as he earned Pro Bowl honors.

Monk surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in each of the following two seasons, becoming the first Redskins receiver to produce three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He also became the first Redskins player to catch 70 or more passes in three straight seasons. Despite retiring as the National Football League's all-time leader in receptions, Monk had been overlooked for election several times since becoming eligible for the Hall of Fame.

"Whether I deserved to play in the NFL or deserve even to be in Hall of Fame, I just loved the game, loved to play, loved being out there,'' Monk said.

Green spent his entire 20-year National Football League career with the Redskins, where he was Monk's teammate from 1983-1993. Widely considered one of the best cornerbacks ever to play the game, he notched 54 interceptions during his career and returned six for touchdowns. Green retired after the 2002 season at 42 with two Super Bowl rings.

"This is incredible,'' Green said. "This is so special. This is out of this world. This literally transcends football, everything I have gone through to do what I was able to do. It was more than the ability to run and cover. It just goes so far beyond that.''

Thomas, who was selected by the Seniors Committee, played cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs for 13 seasons, and ranks ninth all-time with 58 interceptions. Goldberg was also a Seniors Committee selectee among the 12 finalists.

Tippett spent an 11-year career with the New England Patriots, recording 100 sacks. Dean spent parts of seven seasons with the San Diego Chargers and parts of five with the San Francisco 49ers from 1975-85. He was part of San Francisco's Super Bowl-winning seasons in 1981 and 1984. Zimmerman earned seven Pro Bowl nods in seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and five with the Denver Broncos.

The 2008 class will increase to 247 the number of inductees permanently honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Enshrinement of the Class of 2008 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton,Ohio Saturday, August 2 at 6 p.m. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be televised live by both ESPN and the NFL Network.

The annual NFL Hall of Fame Game will be played on Sunday, August 3 at 8 p.m. and broadcast live by NBC-TV. Teams have not yet been announced.

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