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Dexter Manley says, “I’m back” and “you can’t keep a good man down”

About a month ago, it was widely reported that former Redskin Dexter Manley was hospitalized, suffering from a COVID-19 infection. Some reports said that he was deathly ill, while others painted a less dire picture of his condition.

Today, Dexter spoke for himself, in an upbeat, positive and high-energy video that he sent by tweet to “all the fans” in appreciation of the strong show of support he received when his illness was known.

I have to say, watching the video put a huge smile on my face. I was in my twenties, just graduated from college and living and working in Central and Northern Virginia while Dexter was terrorizing quarterbacks on the football field. He was a star on my favorite team, and he was a colorful character in a time when the NFL was loaded with personality.

Dexter had a fantastically successful NFL career as the “Secretary of Defense” for the Redskins. He currently is the franchise record-holder for sacks (officially 97.5, though a few from his rookie year didn’t make the official count, which began in 1982) and single season sacks (18.5 in 1986). Dexter made the pro-bowl and first-team All-Pro in ‘86, was part of two Redskins Superbowl wins, and he is celebrated as a member of the Redskins Ring of Fame.

A couple of years ago, Dexter was the subject of an episode of the NFL Network series “A Football Life. In it, Dexter discussed being functionally illiterate and his drug use; he also talked about coming back from some very low points following his successful NFL career. Personally, I found Dexter’s humanity and vulnerability, which were laid so bare in the documentary of his life, to make him even more esteemed in my estimation. He’s a guy who used his incredible physical skills to dominate on the football field, even while he struggled with and overcame the challenges of everyday life. The frail humanity of Dexter Manley that was on display was moving.

It’s good to see now that Dexter has overcome his latest challenge — a health scare due to a coronavirus infection. It’s also great to see the huge trademark Dexter Manley smile and fantastic enthusiasm again. Dexter looks healthy and happy.