The last time Dexter Manley visited Redskin Park, he was his old, jovial and outgoing self.
Manley stopped by the park on Thursday, Dec. 22, as part of a Redskins Alumni Association initiative. He spoke with head coach Joe Gibbs, Redskins medical director Bubba Tyer and other familiar faces within the organization.
That visit came four days after the Redskins trounced the Cowboys 35-7 at FedExField, marking Washington's first sweep of Dallas since 1995.
In the Week 15 game from last season, Phillip Daniels came up with four sacks to tie a team record, held by Manley (in 1988 versus the Giants) and Diron Talbert (in 1975 versus the Giants).
When Daniels' accomplishment was pointed out to Manley, Dexter let out with a laugh. Then he said: "Phillip is a great player. But as far as me, I could get you five sacks against the Cowboys."
It was vintage Manley--upbeat, engaging and somewhat contrary in a humorous way regarding anything having to do with the Dallas Cowboys.
A positive outlook and an optimistic mood are two of the attributes Dexter Manley is depending upon in order to take on his most recent challenge.
Manley, 47, underwent an 11-hour operation last Wednesday at Georgetown University Hospital during which doctors removed a cyst from his brain.
"Our thoughts are with Dexter and his family," Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder said. "We expect him to attack recovery the same way he played football, full throttle."
Five days after the surgery, family members said, Manley was keeping a positive disposition and thinking about his recovery process. They explained that the cyst first appeared all the way back in 1986 but that Manley was told he could put off a surgical procedure.
"We don't know how long he'll be in the hospital," Manley's wife, Lydia, said Monday morning. "That's up to the doctors. But I can tell you that he's in good spirits. He's in some pain. He keeps asking me, Why? Why do these things keep happening to me?'"
Ten days ago--Friday, June 16--Manley became disoriented as he was driving his car in the District. He hailed a police officer, who took him to Georgetown University Hospital.
Manley has a long and well documented history of experiencing problems related to drug abuse. Those closest to the former Redskins defensive end say his most recent problems do not stem from his difficulties of the past.
According to Lydia Manley, Georgetown doctors have characterized her husband's condition, in layman's terms, as water on the brain involving a cyst inside a sack.
As details regarding Manley's status become available, those within the Redskins organization offered their thoughts and prayers for his full recovery.
It is hoped that Manley will one day soon be able to exhibit the same zest for life that he possessed in full during his most recent stop at Redskin Park, last Dec. 22.
On that day, second-year Redskin Chris Cooley went up to meet Manley, a Redskin from the past about whom Cooley had heard so much.
Dexter greeted Cooley with one of his legendary and all-encompassing hand shakes. "Watch out, Dexter," Gibbs, eyeing the greeting, cautioned. "I need him to be able to catch passes next week."
Let's hope there are many more such moments of levity for Dexter Manley.