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Rewarding Moments In Redskins History: Sonny And Sam Join The Redskins

Posted Mar 24, 2016

In today’s Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins trading for Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff in 1964.

In today's Rewarding Moments In Redskins History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back at the Redskins trading for Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff in 1964.

Sonny Jurgensen thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but when a man told him on March 31, 1964, that he had been traded from the Eagles to the Redskins for Norm Snead he was telling the truth.

The division rivals swapped quarterbacks and the Redskins ended up receiving a 5-time Pro Bowler out of the deal, along with a few other players.

Snead was named to two Pro Bowls during his first three seasons in Washington but his statistics weren’t spectacular. Redskins head coach Bill McPeak wanted a change at the position and considered Jurgensen, who had set several Eagles passing records, one of the league’s best at the position.

Just a little more than a week later, the Redskins had made another trade within the division, this time with the New York Giants.

On April 10, New York traded one of its key players from a close-knit defense, middle linebacker Sam Huff, along with rookie defensive lineman George Seals to the Redskins for defensive end Andy Stynchula, halfback Dick James and a fifth round draft choice for 1965.

The deal surprised just about everyone. Huff said upon the news that had hadn’t gotten over the shock, which was reasonable considering he had been selected to four straight Pro Bowls from 1958 to 1961 and was a consensus first-team All-Pro twice.

Huff would go onto to play four seasons with the Redskins and then returned for one more in 1969 when Vince Lombardi came to Washington to coach. In his time with the Redskins, Huff totaled 12 interceptions and a touchdown and surely provided many tackles, though those stats were never recorded.

With both additions, the Redskins doubled their win total from the previous year and Jurgensen made the Pro Bowl that year, the beginning of a memorable career in Washington.

Tommy McDonald, one of the receivers in the trade that came to Washington with Jurgensen, couldn’t believe that Eagles coach Joe Kuharich would pull the trigger and let Jurgensen go to a rival.

“To this day, I’ll never understand why Kuharich traded Sonny to the Redskins,” McDonald said. “Bill McPeak must have been the happiest person on Earth when he got Sonny. The Philly fans absolutely loved him. Who doesn’t want that type of quarterback, my gosh? I’m sure when he came back to play the Eagles, the fans hated to see that.”

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For one of the few times in his life, wide receiver Art Monk was nervous before an NFL game.

On the eve of the Redskins’ Monday Night Football matchup with the Broncos at RFK Stadium, Monk knew he had the opportunity to break the NFL receptions record.

He wanted to get it out of the way, and so did the Redskins, who faced the Eagles the next week and wanted Monk’s attention, and the team’s attention, on their division rival.

For a moment, on that Oct.12 night, it looked as though the record would have to wait. The Redskins were crushing the Broncos and throwing the ball wasn’t particularly practical as the fourth quarter ran down. But head coach Joe Gibbs pressed on.

He called three pass plays in a row for the eventual Hall of Famer during a final fourth quarter drive.

The third pass was the record-setter, a 10-yard throw from Mark Rypien that Monk caught by the Broncos sideline with just more than three minutes left to play. The reception made history, pushing past Steve Largent, and Monk was quickly lifted into the air by his teammates to celebrate.

"I knew it was for the record. It was a play designed for me to catch," Monk said after the Redskins’ eventual 34-3 victory. "I'm glad it's over. I was nervous before the game--that's something I'm not used to. I was glad to be able to do it here."

With the game in hand, those that didn’t leave early for traffic were rewarded for their patience and roared for their wide receiver.

Monk finished the night with seven catches for 69 yards and would finish his career with 940 receptions, now 17th overall on the all-time receptions list in NFL history.