Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- There’s another honor former SU great Art Monk can add to his long and storied career in football.
Monk is officially one of the newest members of the College Football Hall of Fame. He’s the 11 player and the 18th member of the Orange and Monk’s accomplishments stretch beyond just the field.
It was the late 70s and Art Monk was making the beginnings of a very big mark on the game of football. While he was starring on the field for SU, he was making a mark of a different sort on people’s lives. One man in particular remembers how he crossed paths with Monk.
“That kind of stays in your memory, it was a very pleasant memory,” said Neil O’Brien, who met Monk as a teen.
Neil O’Brien, a teenager, the middle child of a family of six was coming up on his first Christmas after losing his dad. A family friend invited him to see a basketball game at Madison Square Garden.
“I still remember this day, getting into the station wagon, I had no idea somebody else was going and I get into the backseat, there was a man, 20 years old, great physical shape, but I didn't know who he was,” O’Brien told NewsChannel 9.
Later on that night and the next day O’Brien learned he was with a college football star Art Monk. O’Brien says he continued to follow Monk’s career as he soared through the NFL, becoming one of the game’s all-time great receivers. For O’Brien there will always be that special connection away from the field.
"All I remember of Art Monk as the nicest guy in the world. He was about 8 years older than me, and just as kind as you can be,” O’Brien said.
It’s nothing you can directly see on the banner of Art Monk to honor him that hangs at the Carrier Dome, but maybe the next time you're at the Dome you'll remember this story when you see his picture.
Fans can watch a live stream of the National Football Foundation
Annual Awards Dinner, starting at 8 p.m. on ESPN3
and the NFF’s homepage.
Senior Ryan Nassib will also be recognized at the dinner as a national scholar athlete.