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Dexter Manley Speaks With Enormous Passion

Posted by Matt Terl on May 13, 2011 – 2:48 pm

I’ve been to a few of these Fourth & Life events — where NFL players past and present offer life lessons to high school football players — and I’ve seen a variety of approaches. Some guys seem to reach the kids more easily, others have to work harder. Some use the carrots of fame, fortune, and potential success, while others use the stick of likely failure.

But I have never seen anyone approach the forum quite like Dexter Manley did today. Manley would not be contained by the director’s chair or the stage; he stood, paced, demonstrated running ladders on a set of train tracks, pointed, and thundered at the students. He reminisced about friends lost to addiction and recounted his own struggles with his inability to read. If it was at times slighlty rambling and unfocused, his methods reached the kids.

“I was surprised how real he was,” Gary Gross, a student from Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., told me. “I was surprised that he was gonna go that far.”

“Most of ’em think that I’m gonna be a preacher,” Manley said, laughing. “Some of ’em said some encouraging things, that they could relate to it — whether it’s a brother or a sister who has some learning disabilities, and how to overcome that stuff. Overcome the fact of drugs and just make the right choices instead of bad choices.”

Watching Manley thunder toward the audience is the closest I’m ever going to come to facing his legendarily fierce pass rush, and Manley says that the intensity for both comes from the same place.

“It’s passion,” he said. “It’s passion because I lived it and I’ve recitified it and I’m not ashamed of it. It’d be different if I was still caught up in the grips of addiction. I couldn’t face it — I was hiding in an alley. But I don’t have to hide in an alley no more.”

Passion was, in fact, one of the major topics of Manley’s talk to the kids. “That’s the passion that I have,” Manley said, after explaining that he had walked fifteen miles to see NFL players get off their bus at a Super Bowl in Houston. “See, you can’t have the passion watching football playing Nintendo sittin’ home on your butt. You’ve got to get active.”

This event, Manley said, was a chance to help these kids develop their passion — and avoid the things that caused him to feel ashamed for all those years.

“When I was caught up in the grips of addiction and on the streets of Houston, Texas … I remember that,” Manley said. “I remember the pain, the demoralization. And what these young people are like and what they have in front of them … [I’m] just hoping that I can convey the message, giving them real live experience.”

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s two videos from Manley’s talk today. Read more »

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LaVar Arrington On Tutoring Lorenzo Alexander

Posted by Matt Terl on May 13, 2011 – 2:25 pm

Former Redskins linebacker (and current 106.7 The Fan radio host and Washington Post blogger) LaVar Arrington was back at Redskins Park for today’s 4th & Life event. He spoke to a group of high school students about (basically) making good choices in life — and he was generally very good at that — but I was interested in some other teaching that he’s been doing lately: namely, schooling Lorenzo Alexander in the art of pass rushing.

Alexander was the Redskins’ starting outside linebacker last year, just the latest position switch for the player known as the One Man Gang. But pass rushing wasn’t his strongest suit, so he connected with Arrington to get some pointers — something that Alexander mentioned in an appearance on Arrington’s radio show.

And, Arrington said today, Alexander quickly found out just how much there was to learn — and how much Arrington had to teach. Read more »

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Dexter Manley Would Like To Help Albert Haynesworth

Posted by Brian Tinsman on May 13, 2011 – 1:50 pm

Redskins.com intern Brian Tinsman spoke to Dexter Manley following the 4th & Life event at Redskins Park Friday.

by Brian Tinsman

Friday’s 4th & Life event at Redskins Park was intended to offer life advice to area high school football players. Former Redskins pass rushing great Dexter Manley took the opportunity to offer similar services to current Redskins player Albert Haynesworth, to get his life back on track.

“I wanna talk to him,” Manley said, as soon as Haynesworth’s name was mentioned.

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Hail! Throwback And The Hogs

Posted by Matt Terl on May 13, 2011 – 9:38 am

Congratulations to Hail! writer/artist Ben Ceccarelli, who is getting married this weekend. We wish him and his bride all the best. To celebrate the occasion, Ceccarelli has gone for gross-out humor in this week’s strip; you can find the backstory over at the DC Sports Bog.

As always, click the first panel or the Read More link to see the rest of the strip.
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