Dexter Manley
refer to caption
Manley in 2022
No. 72, 92
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1959-02-02) February 2, 1959 (age 64)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:253 lb (115 kg)
Career information
High school:Yates (Houston)
College:Oklahoma State
NFL Draft:1981 / Round: 5 / Pick: 119
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR

Dexter Keith Manley (born February 2, 1959) is an American former professional football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Washington Redskins. He also played for the Phoenix Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Ottawa Rough Riders. Manley played college football for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and was selected by the Redskins in the fifth round of the 1981 NFL Draft.

Professional football career

National Football League

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.[1] 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.[2][1] He had a series of arrests related to his drug problem and was ultimately convicted and served two years in prison.[3]

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]

Canadian Football League

Manley also played two seasons in the CFL with the Ottawa Rough Riders (1992 and 1993).

Personal life

He was nicknamed the "Secretary of Defense" during his time with the Redskins.[6] He resides in suburban Washington with his family.

Manley underwent brain surgery in June 2006 to treat a colloid cyst. He first learned about the cyst in 1986 after he collapsed in a Georgetown, Washington, D.C. department store. His prognosis was for a relatively full recovery, although doctors have said that memory loss is a common side effect of the operation.

In May 2020, it was announced that Manley had tested positive for COVID-19.[7]

In "The Shame of College Sports", a 2011 article in The Atlantic by Taylor Branch (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.[8]


  1. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 22, 1989). "Why Manley? Why Now?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  2. ^ "Dexter Manley Arrested Again". The Washington Post. March 5, 1995. Retrieved March 7, 2006.
  3. ^ "Dexter Manley released after two years in prison". March 5, 2004. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  4. ^ "Standing up for Manley".
  5. ^ Nyad, Diana (May 28, 1989). "Views of Sport; How Illiteracy Makes Athletes Run". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  6. ^ Friend, Tom (February 26, 1995). "For Manley, Life Without Football Is Impossible to Tackle". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  7. ^ Russell, Chris (May 16, 2020). "Hopeful News on Redskins Legend Dexter Manley". Sports Illustrated; Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  8. ^ Branch, Taylor (October 2011). "The Shame of College Sports". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 18, 2021.