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Tarhog

Redskin's History 101: Dexter Manley

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Originally posted by autographcollector

Great Work!

I recently got Dexter to autograph a jersey for me at a signing in Laurel. I

used to tackle my grandfather while yelling "Dexter". He was a special part of my childhood.

I will always remember he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread at RFK stadium. Now that is a true Redskin!!

Thanks again for the article!!!

I took note of that too - to be at one of the lowest points of your life, and still have both the Redskins and the fans in your mind - thats got to say something positive about the guy.

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Thanks Tarhog for a great piece!!

Watching those incredible memories of the Dallas game from 1982 and Dexter's huge contribution to it brought tears to my eyes! I was there, as a 11 year old kid, at that game screaming at the top of my lungs "WE WANT DALLAS!!" - still the best Redskins game of my life.

Dexter was always a total inspiration as a football player. I know that thinking about Dexter always brings up conflicting emotions- excitement, inspiration, but also sadness, and regret at what might have been.

I also want to share a Dexter memory. Sometime during the end of Dexter's career, I think during 1990, when he was "banned for life" due to drugs, I saw Dexter at some tennis courts in Reston. I was working during the summer as a tennis instructor. Dexter was on the court that we normally reserve for lessons. I looked at the assistant instructor, and said "do you want to kick Dexter off the court, or do you want me to do it? He said "You do it!" So I went on the court and said "excuse me, Mr. Manley, we have your court reserved for our tennis lessons". Honestly I didn't know how he was going to react - he was at a low point in his life, banned from the NFL for drugs, and I had to confront him.

But he gracefully left the court, and even signed autographs for all of the kids!! That to me, said a lot about Dexter. He had (and still does have) a HUGE heart for people, especially Redskins fans. Even throughout his failings, his loyalty to the Redskins and to Redskins fans has always been steadfast. I sincerely hope that he has finally turned his life around and that he can channel all of the awesome enthusiasm and zest for life that he displayed on the football field.

Thanks again for memorializing a childhood hero - a tarnished hero - but still a hero.

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Originally posted by PA Skin Fan

Thanks Tarhog for a great piece!!

Watching those incredible memories of the Dallas game from 1982 and Dexter's huge contribution to it brought tears to my eyes! I was there, as a 11 year old kid, at that game screaming at the top of my lungs "WE WANT DALLAS!!" - still the best Redskins game of my life.

Dexter was always a total inspiration as a football player. I know that thinking about Dexter always brings up conflicting emotions- excitement, inspiration, but also sadness, and regret at what might have been.

I also want to share a Dexter memory. Sometime during the end of Dexter's career, I think during 1990, when he was "banned for life" due to drugs, I saw Dexter at some tennis courts in Reston. I was working during the summer as a tennis instructor. Dexter was on the court that we normally reserve for lessons. I looked at the assistant instructor, and said "do you want to kick Dexter off the court, or do you want me to do it? He said "You do it!" So I went on the court and said "excuse me, Mr. Manley, we have your court reserved for our tennis lessons". Honestly I didn't know how he was going to react - he was at a low point in his life, banned from the NFL for drugs, and I had to confront him.

But he gracefully left the court, and even signed autographs for all of the kids!! That to me, said a lot about Dexter. He had (and still does have) a HUGE heart for people, especially Redskins fans. Even throughout his failings, his loyalty to the Redskins and to Redskins fans has always been steadfast. I sincerely hope that he has finally turned his life around and that he can channel all of the awesome enthusiasm and zest for life that he displayed on the football field.

Thanks again for memorializing a childhood hero - a tarnished hero - but still a hero.

Thats consistent with everything I've learned about the guy. He had problems, but he was generally ALWAYS appreciative of what it meant to be a Redskin, and just how great the Redskins fanbase was. Thanks for sharing!

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Great article. As sad a case off the field as he was, and in spite of his often distracting antics on the field, he was a terrifying (and terrifyingly good) player, but one who never lost his playful side.

For instance, for some reason -- and more than just that he's a Redskin -- I can forgive Manley for the spitting incident, whereas I'm sure I'd be pretty angry with any other player for such a petty, unsportsmanlike act.

I think it has something to do with Manley's subsequent explanation, quoted (in part) above. The rest of the quote, as I recall, goes something like this:

"I didn't spit - I sneezed, cause I'm allergic to holding."

Classic.

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Originally posted by goskins

Maybe times are just different, maybe as an adult I expect more from public figures (like I feel about ST's current situation)... I don't know.

I'm with you there. I was in my early-mid teens during the Manley era. As an adult, I cannot tolerate the Taylor antics. At the same time, it may also be that it was well documented that Dexter was one of the kindest human beings that you ever met. As has been mentioned by others, he was also a true Redskin and cared deeply about us, the fans, and the team. He will always be my favorite Redskin as attested by the picture behind me.

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Tarhog & TK, I greatly enjoy each and every installment.

You guys put so much hard work into each article and I want to make sure that you know it is appreciated.

Thanks, again.

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Originally posted by Ryman of the North

Great article I was more of a Mann fan but I always had a spot for Dexter. Not to nitpick but the CFL team he played for was The Ottawa Roughriders.

Yeah, but who cares? :)

Just teasing Ryman! Right you are. I believe their current incarnation is the Ottawa Renegades?

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Originally posted by SonnyRules

Tarhog & TK, I greatly enjoy each and every installment.

You guys put so much hard work into each article and I want to make sure that you know it is appreciated.

Thanks, again.

Thanks, that makes it worth the time and effort!

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Nicely done. Brought back some fond memories. I always remember him with that big grin.

:cheers:

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Great job again Tarhog and TK. This idea is most definately an out of the park, walk off home run.

Or would that be a, "hand off to Riggins, over the left side. Big hole, he's gone, he's gone!"

Anyway, me likey.

However, let me be the first to say, I was never a big Dexter fan. Don't get me wrong, I cheered him on as much as anyone because he wore the uniform. No question he made some huge plays for this team, at some of the biggest moments. Can't dispute that.

But I remember very well during his playing days here, he was accused of, and guilty of , IMO, not going all out a lot of the time.

Like Randy Moss, he seemed to only play when he wanted to. But then he'd make a highlight reel kind of play, and everybody forgot how up until that point, he'd done little. He was also very poor against the run. Good linebacker play bailed him out regularly, in my memories. I also thought that Grant and Butz were responsible for a lot of his, and Mann's, sacks. I don't recall either of them having to beat many double teams. One on one they were good, but then, as starters in the NFL, they should've been.

His off the field troubless were a problem for me. I had, and still have, little-to-no-sympathy for self inflicted wounds. Not even for my own family members. So while I'll take the good that he did for the team, had he been cut or traded sooner than he was, I wouldn't have shed a tear. I do however wish him well. My dislike was not personal. I think mainly it was that I hated to see people half-a$$ their job. I thought he did.

Disclaimer: The observations and opinions above are based solely on the memory of the author. Any proof to the contrary will only confuse further, a warped aging mind hellbent on writing history the way he saw it.

Please, be gentle.

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Hey, I value the input Ax, ALL the input. And we decided early on to give as honest a view of players we spotlighted as possible. They all had their issues, granted Manley enough for an entire team. I think you make some pretty valid points, particularly on how reliable he was against the run. And as for him, at times, disappearing in games for long stretches, its not the first I've heard it said.

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Originally posted by iheartskins

And yet, he prevailed in many ways and...made it through college without being able to read. And no one knew the better. That's remarkable.

i don't see that as remarkable, rather a sad statement on the business that is college sports.

there were a lot of remarkable things in this piece, but that wasn't one of them, imo.

great job once again guys. it was like i was watching him all over again.

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Great works guy - I can only imagine how long it took to get all of that information together. It was worth it though - Dexter Manley, for better or for worse, is one of the biggest names on some very talented Redskins teams. Thanks again for sharing with the class.

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Tarhog you are correct they are now called the renegades on ottawa but they arent the same team the renegades are an expansion team. great article tho I especially loved the quotes.

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Originally posted by Ryman of the North

Tarhog you are correct they are now called the renegades on ottawa but they arent the same team the renegades are an expansion team. great article tho I especially loved the quotes.

Thanks - I thought the 1st quote was both prophetic and sad. They say 'be careful what you wish for' - thats right up there with the old 'Monkey's Paw' story.

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Great read gents. Good work as always.

This just served to further entrench my belief that Dexter is worthy of enshrinement in Canton. I have never understood why he is not talked about as a candidate. If LT's off the field issues did not get in the way and Irvin's issues are a none factor, then I see no reason for this man not to be in Canton. His numbers are actually better than current HoF member Howie Long.

Thanks again. I can't help but wonder just how good Williams D would be with a man of these talents on the left end.

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Manley actually made the preliminary list in 1996 - as far as I can tell that was his first and last nomination - he was arrested that year and served time, and it got worse from there. I've no doubt that torpedoed his chances for the foreseeable future, and maybe, permanently.

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wow, i just got around to watching the videography.....great work.

i remember the "gift-wrapped" play vividly. i had forgotten about it, because i was only like 10 years old, so thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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Nice read, but I'm going to be just a little nitpicky because some of the info doesn't jibe with what I remember as a Skins fan in '81.

Dexter was at least 6'4". He was never listed under that, to my knowledge, and the couple of times I saw him in person confirmed that. Also, to the best of my knowlege, he played defensive end at Oklahoma state, not linebacker, although he came out of college at just over 240lbs. I don't think he was a major prospect coming out of college. He was one of those Bobby Beathard specials: undersized DE with incredible athleticism. He got into Bubba Tyer's program and played most of his career in the 250-255lb range. Dexter had huge, broad shoulders and gigantic biceps, but always had skinny (albeit athletic) legs and narrow hips. I doubt he ever weighed in as much as 260lbs at any point during his career.

One thing worth mentioning, and I'm sure there are more here that remember, is that Dexter was a DEMON special teams player his rookie season. While he worked on putting on some more weight, special teams coach Wayne Sevier made Manley into a jumbo-sized gunner on punt coverage. After a few games, Dexter got a regular isolation shot, showing this 245-pounder split wide, always double-teamed by much smaller players. The guy could run like a DB or WR. I've still never seen anything like it.

Manley never showed much interest in playing the run, but Richie Pettitbon and Co. would scheme to take advantage of his extraordinary talent, usually splitting him out wide and using the weakside linebacker to cover his gap.

Sorry, again, for being nitpicky. Maybe I'm wrong, but those were pretty vivid recollections I had.

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Originally posted by GURU

Nice read, but I'm going to be just a little nitpicky because some of the info doesn't jibe with what I remember as a Skins fan in '81.

Dexter was at least 6'4". He was never listed under that, to my knowledge, and the couple of times I saw him in person confirmed that. Also, to the best of my knowlege, he played defensive end at Oklahoma state, not linebacker, although he came out of college at just over 240lbs. I don't think he was a major prospect coming out of college. He was one of those Bobby Beathard specials: undersized DE with incredible athleticism. He got into Bubba Tyer's program and played most of his career in the 250-255lb range. Dexter had huge, broad shoulders and gigantic biceps, but always had skinny (albeit athletic) legs and narrow hips. I doubt he ever weighed in as much as 260lbs at any point during his career.

One thing worth mentioning, and I'm sure there are more here that remember, is that Dexter was a DEMON special teams player his rookie season. While he worked on putting on some more weight, special teams coach Wayne Sevier made Manley into a jumbo-sized gunner on punt coverage. After a few games, Dexter got a regular isolation shot, showing this 245-pounder split wide, always double-teamed by much smaller players. The guy could run like a DB or WR. I've still never seen anything like it.

Manley never showed much interest in playing the run, but Richie Pettitbon and Co. would scheme to take advantage of his extraordinary talent, usually splitting him out wide and using the weakside linebacker to cover his gap.

Sorry, again, for being nitpicky. Maybe I'm wrong, but those were pretty vivid recollections I had.

I have no problem with ANYONE correcting me. However, a couple things to say here. First of all, I'm going through thousands of pages of articles to produce a single summary here. Thats a fact. Thousands. Even amongst published articles, there are discrepancies. In some cases, say on a player's height and weight, I have to go with what the consensus of articles say. Some of the facts may occasionally be off, but its not for lack of effort (I'm not saying you're saying that, I just want it clear what the process is).

You say Dexter was 6' 4", and was never 260 lbs. Most of the sources I found said otherwise. Here are some of them:

Dexter Manley might be Exhibit A. >From 1981 through 1989, one would have been hard-pressed to find a more dominant, more terrifying NFL defensive end than Dexter Manley, a.k.a. "The Secretary of Defense." In his nine seasons with the Washington Redskins, the six-foot-three, 260-pound Manley played in three Super Bowls, winning two. His 97 1/2 sacks are a franchise record and rank in the top 20 on the all-time league list. "Oh, Dexter was a monster," says former teammate Charles Mann, who started across from Manley on the defensive line. "He was as physically gifted a football player as I've seen." (Psychology Today, Page 7, May 1 2004)

Woolf said Manley's mental outlook now is ''wonderful.'' He is working out ''every day'' and is ''in great physical shape,'' said Woolf. Manley, who weighed about 260 pounds during the 1989 season, is the Redskins' all-time sack leader with 97.3. Along the way, the Redskins won two Super Bowls and three NFC East Conference titles. He also holds the club's single-season sack mark with 18.(United Press International Sports News, October 4, 1990)

Rarely, however, has Manley conspired to inspire sympathy, which is understandable. There are only so many boxes of Kleenex to go around in the world, and most sports fans aren't about to confer pity on a 260-pound block of granite who makes $ 500,000 a year for chasing quarterbacks, then crows about it when he sacks his prey. You've had better things to do with your tear ducts, until the other day. (The Sporting News, June 12, 1989)

It's just that Manley, a lightning-quick, 6-foot 3-inch 257-pounder , is more likely to cause a stir with his quick wit -- and even quicker lip -- than his fast feet. Throw some unusual off-the-field antics and you've got a bona fide folk hero, more revered than the founding fathers here in the nation's capital. (The Los Angeles Times, Page 1, January 10, 1987)

The 6-foot 3-inch, 257-pound defensive end, who along with Washington's other manly types chased the itty-bitty Flutie all over Soldier Field, fondled the $2 flute in both of his very large hands. (The Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1987)

Btw, our own player database has him listed at 6'3", 253lbs. He played over 9 seasons, I'm guessing his weight fluctuated.

As for whether or not he played linebacker at Oklahoma State, thats what my sources stated:

The arrest has overshadowed Manley's vast improvement as a player. Two years ago, he was a linebacker at Oklahoma State. Now, blessed with 4.5 speed for 40 yards and unusual quickness, he is becoming an accomplished pass rusher from a three-point stance, a major transition. He has the talent to be a dominating rusher, something the Redskins have lacked since Coy Bacon was released. (The Washington Post, Page 48 December 2, 1982)

Dexter's college career as a linebacker was lackluster, but his speed and strength impressed the Redskins enough to choose him in the fifth round of the 1981 National Football League draft. In his rookie year he met his wife, Glinda, now 29, at a stoplight. He was in his gold Mercedes, and she was in her black Honda Prelude. "He toots his horn and speeds off," she says. "I catch up with him at the next light." They went for a drink, and Dexter spent the next hour or so telling Glinda, who had just moved to Washington from Chicago, how important he was to the Redskins. "I thought, 'What's wrong with this guy?' " she says now. "He was full of it. He still is." - People, February 1, 1988 (page 100)

If you can find something to refute that, other than memory, I'll thank you for it. I want these to be as accurate as possible.

And as for the part about him being a 'major prospect' coming out of Oklahoma State, I'm not sure where in the article I said anything different. He WAS a 5th round draft pick with incredible athletic talent, and he did lead his team in tackles 3 straight years. Theres no doubt the pick was risky, but theres also no doubt it paid off. Not sure what you're referring to on that point.

Thanks for the points on special teams, I think your information is accurate, and I think your statement that he was basically a detriment against the run is pretty spot-on.

Hope this doesn't sound defensive - not intended to be, honest :)

I just want you to know I definitely work hard to get the facts as correct as I can (ie..I'm not pulling this stuff out of my rear end), and I know I can count on you guys to let me know if I get anything wrong.

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Thanks, Tarhog.

You're right--I was going off what I remember reading at the time Manley was drafted and his early career with the Skins. My memory is usually pretty good, but I defer to your research, of course. It's been nearly a quarter of a century, so some things can get foggy. For some reason, I thought Dexter was just an undersized college defensive end. I don't remember that he played linebacker at OSU. But it makes sense--one of Bobby Beathard's specialties was identifying athletes and projecting them to another position. Like Monte Coleman, who was a 215lb safety in college, or Clint Didier, who was an oversized wide receiver. Both guys put on at least 15 pounds of muscle between getting drafted and training camp without losing any athletic ability by getting into Bubba Tyer's weight training program. Dexter was certainly in that mold.

Wasn't attacking. Just needed clarification. Your profiles have had the memories rolling in. Guess some of them aren't as sharp as I thought.

Keep'em coming.

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To be honest Guru, some of your memories may be as factual as some of the source material I'm forced to use. Think about it, we find scores of errors in contemporary sports reports - I have no doubt that many of the source articles I'm reading here have errors - I know it because sometimes two reputable sources have conflicting info, and they can't both be right :)

I was thinking today, in Manley's era, 6'3" was pretty big. Maybe our memories are skewed by todays goliath players....

Last thing I want is to discourage comments - half the fun in doing these are some of the memories you guys bring forward - I don't want to squelch that. Anytime something we put out there doesn't jibe with what someone remembers, I really appreciate you all asking. Whats funny is, as hard a time as we've given the pro media types for screwing up their stories and facts, I'll confess I'm a little paranoid about getting it wrong. TK has caught errors and we have Om and other staff members read these before they go out, but there are no doubt going to be mistakes. So I'll work on that tough skin thing.

Thanks for asking the questions....

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