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Redskins Great Dexter Manley – Showing All Heart in Overcoming Covid-19

At the end of the day, do we respect the path of a man that is filled with no potholes from start to finish? Or, the one who preserves through many potholes and roadblocks? Probably we can respect both paths.

The great Reggae musicians Jimmy Cliffs sings about, ‘Many Rivers To Cross.’ This song is about how man and woman can preserve to overcome obstacles.

One man who epitomes this song maybe more so than anyone I know in the Redskins community is Redskins retired great and Houston native Dexter Manley, who was recently hospitalized with covid-19.

I met and interviewed Dexter while working with a local publication in April of 2017 and his interview left the biggest impression of any person I have ever interviewed. Now, Dexter knows how to tell a story and he gave me a story for the ages when we first sat down.

I asked him when he fell in love with football. I have no idea if I can confirm the accuracy of this story, it jumped around his childhood but my memory was something to the effect of:…when he was a kid in Houston, he hiked miles in the snow (barefoot) to get to Rice Stadium for Super Bowl VIII and he and his buddies somehow snuck into the game….

Now, according to Houston weather records, it snowed three times in 1973 in Houston and in 1974 it was a cold 50-degree the day of the Super Bowl. I have no doubt that Dexter was sneaking in the Houston stadium back in the day, walking in snowstorms and watching the Super Bowls from under the stands.

That is Dexter–all heart!

Without really getting to know Dexter as a person, I would say he is one of the nice man in this world. A truer sign of an organization is not so much how they do on the field but how they treat their alumni and the Redskins community did show courage and bravado in how it has rallied towards Dexter in the past.

As a player, Dexter had the best seasons of any Redskins sack master. IN 1982-1983, Dexter was our Cameron Jordan.

As kids, images of Riggins and Dexter on the sidelines sucking oxygen, both with mohawks had us asking our parents for the haircuts. That was an early Gibbs Skins.

How about Dexter’s 1983 NFC Championship game performance where he knocked out Danny White and then deflected Gary Hogeboom’s pass which was pick-six by fellow defensive line mate Daryl Grant.

Dexter was always making news. Disclosing he had hardly learned to read at a college level yet was still able to be passing classes at Oklahoma State University because of his football stardom sent shockwaves through the nation.

Yes, even before the suspensions and lost years, Dexter was living that Jimmy Cliff song.

In the process of disclosing his reading problems and through many other athletes’ examples, hopefully NCAA scholar-athlete standards are actually high here in the 21st century.

Dexter was one of the first whistleblowers to the vile practices of the NCAA. Then, even as a lesser player, when Ditka gave his famous “grapefruit IQ” quote; not only did HC Gibbs come to Dexter side but the whole Redskins team came to his side.

That day, based in part on bulletin board fodder, the Redskins scored a major road upset of the so-called mightier Bears.

Later on, the same sort of rallying was shown by the Redskins community when it came to Dexter. Years after, Dexter’s fall from football, failed attempts at the CFL, there were unconfirmed reports that Dexter was hanging on by a thread.

I remember hearing unconfirmed reports that Dexter was penniless and in jail in Houston. Whatever Dexter’s life post-football, the Redskins community rallied around Dexter. For this evening in 2017, I can say yes to it reaping benefits on me.

Dexter talked to me about substances abuse and anger management. It was in this interview that I knew and saw a leader for people dealing with struggles. I remember when I shook Dexter’s right hand, I had never shook a bigger hand in my life.

Obviously, Dexter was an awesome athlete who has had to overcome many an obstacle. But more so than that, he has been an awesome representative of the Redskins alumni the pass few years.

Just like we should have prayers for all Redskins and Cowboy and NFL alumni and all Americans and anyone man or woman affected with Covid…tonight, let us please have a prayer for Dexter.


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