Dexter Manley

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Dexter Manley
No. 72, 92
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1959-02-02) February 2, 1959 (age 61)
Houston, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:253 lb (115 kg)
Career information
High school:Yates (Houston, Texas)
College:Oklahoma State
NFL Draft:1981 / Round: 5 / Pick: 119
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at

Dexter Keith Manley, nicknamed the "Secretary of Defense"[1] (born February 2, 1959) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins, Phoenix Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an 11-year career from 1981 to 1991. He also played in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Shreveport Pirates. Manley played college football at Oklahoma State University.

Professional career[edit]


Manley was drafted in the fifth round (119th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he played for nine seasons. During his career with the Redskins, Manley won two Super Bowl titles and was a Pro Bowler in 1986 when he recorded a Redskins single-season record of 18.5 sacks. In 1989, Manley failed his third drug test, with an opportunity to apply for reinstatement after one year.[2] He then played for the Phoenix Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, after he failed his fourth drug test, he retired on December 12, 1991.[3][1]

Officially, Manley had 97.5 quarterback sacks in his career. His total rises to 103.5 when the six sacks he had his rookie year of 1981, when sacks were not yet an official statistic, are included.[4] After his career in the United States ended, he revealed that he was functionally illiterate, despite having studied at Oklahoma State University for four years.[5]


Manley also played two seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1992 and 1993 after being banned from the NFL. In 1995, Manley was convicted of cocaine possession and was sentenced to four years in prison, of which he served two.[6]

In 2002, he was selected as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All Time and is a member of the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame.


Manley underwent 15 hours of brain surgery June 21, 2006, to treat a colloid cyst, and is experiencing minor isolated memory loss. He first learned about the cyst in 1986, after he collapsed in a Georgetown department store. His prognosis is for a relatively full recovery, although doctors have said that memory loss is a common side effect of the operation. Manley lives in suburban Washington with his wife and family.[7]

On May 16, 2020, it was announced that Manley had tested positive for COVID-19.[8]

U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing[edit]

In an article by Taylor Branch entitled "The Shame of College Sports", prior to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities in 1989, Manley was famously quoted as saying that he had been functionally illiterate in college.[9]


  1. ^ Friend, Tom (February 26, 1995). "PRO FOOTBALL; For Manley, Life Without Football Is Impossible to Tackle". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  2. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 22, 1989). "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Why Manley? Why Now?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "Dexter Manley Arrested Again". Washington Post. March 5, 1995. Retrieved March 7, 2006.
  4. ^ "Standing up for Manley".
  5. ^ Nyad, Diana; Miles, 89 (May 28, 1989). "Views of Sport; How Illiteracy Makes Athletes Run". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Dexter Manley Given 4-Year Sentence". Washington Post. August 5, 1995. Retrieved March 7, 2006.
  7. ^ Friend, Tom (June 25, 2006). "Prognosis good for Manley following brain surgery". ESPN.
  8. ^ "Hopeful News on Redskins Legend Dexter Manley".
  9. ^ "The Shame of College Sports". The Atlantic. October 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.

External links[edit]