RICHMOND, VA -- His group sent one of their three to the Hall of Fame and another one finished with nearly 2,000 catches. They won Super Bowls. They scared defenses. They were a tough unit to match and, in fact, no Washington Redskins receiving corps since then has touched what Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders accomplished.
And yet, Clark said the current Redskins receivers might be better than the trio he played with during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"On paper, right now they're probably better than we were," Clark said, after watching the Redskins practice Wednesday. "There's a lot of talent out there. They call can ball. That's four or five deep. We were three deep, four in some years. They're five-deep strong. When you don't miss a beat when someone comes in to replace you, that's a strong receiving corps."
Those are also strong words by Clark. It's debatable of course. Just look at what the trio accomplished: seven combined Super Bowl rings and 1,851 catches. Monk is the lone Hall of Famer and he played with Washington the longest. Clark was the deep threat, twice averaging at least 19.0 yards per catch in his career. The group combined for seven Pro Bowls: four by Clark; three by Monk and none by Sanders. Clark was named first-team All-Pro three times; Monk once.
Meanwhile, the current group counters with Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. None of them won a Super Bowl and only Jackson has appeared in the Pro Bowl (three times) or on an All-Pro team (once).
But the reason Clark said they could be better is their depth, with players such as Santana Moss in reserve.
"It's hard for me to say someone's better than my group of guys," Clark said. "We were good. I feel we set the standard as far as a receiving group. It's hard to beat that standard, but I think potentially on paper and from what I've seen so far, these guys look great. I bet Art would agree with me if he got to see him. We're proud of that. I want that next generation to be better.
"It's been a while since I've seen a group of receivers that can run after the catch."
That leads Clark to Jackson, whom the Redskins signed in early April.
"I like DeSean," Clark said. "I love him. I like that he cares so much about winning. He reminds me of myself a little bit. He really does in terms of he's not afraid to vocalize when his teammates aren't giving 100 percent. Any teammate should be that way. Some people look at that as a negative. I've always seen that as a positive thing. If I'm not playing well I want my teammates to get in my ass and he does that. He backs up everything he talks about."
Clark was known to get riled up a time or two -- or many -- when he played, sometimes engaging in sideline arguments with the coaches. So if Jackson gets a bit fiery on the sidelines, don't expect Jackson to want him muzzled.
Nor does he want Jackson to change on the field.
"He's smart and he has all heart," Clark said. "You just put a talented defensive back against him, he'll eat his lunch by the fourth quarter. ... He has that mental focus and mental toughness that takes his game to the next level. I remember when they played the Redskins a few years back and [Michael] Vick connected with him right away. There were some words on the field early in the game. That was the type of guy I am. You task to me, I'm going to eat your lunch. DeSean is that guy. That's why I like him."