“The Secretary of Defense” Dexter Manley’s Story Told on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

‘Dexter Manley: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, September 25 at 9:00 PM ET

“If you can look at his life and learn anything, it’s don’t give up on yourself no matter how bad things get.” – Michael Wilbon

September 22, 2015:  Dexter Manley: A Football Life premieres Friday, September 25 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network with a look at two-time Super Bowl champion with the Washington Redskins Dexter Manley, nicknamed, ‘The Secretary of Defense.’ The one-hour documentary produced by NFL Films features interviews with Manley, family members, teammates, coaches and opponents.

Following the premiere of Dexter Manley: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now. For 2015, NFL Now showcases a new virtual “network” of digital programming that runs 24-7 (live and on-demand) while giving fans the choice to select a “channel” that delivers only content from their favorite NFL club. Offered free of charge, NFL Now is accessible on personal computers at nfl.com/now, through NFL Mobile from Verizon on smartphones and tablets, and in the NFL channel across select consoles and streaming devices, including Microsoft’s Xbox One and Apple TV.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (NFL.com/watch), with participating cable and satellite providers.

Manley, a Houston native, was born and raised in the Third Ward and had to overcome adversity his entire life. Sleeping on the floor of a bedroom shared with his three other siblings, he dedicated his life to football. His hard work paid off, playing at Oklahoma State University and eventually being selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Throughout Manley’s career he continued to overcome obstacles such as illiteracy and drug abuse but never gave up.

Among the topics discussed in Dexter Manley: A Football Life are:

  • Growing up in Houston’s Third Ward
  • The death of his father and older brother
  • The significance of the 1982 NFC Championship Game, Super Bowl XVII and the 1987 NFC Divisional Playoff
  • His testimony at a U.S. Senate Hearing in 1989 discussing his illiteracy
  • Battling his drug addiction

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Dexter Manley: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Dexter Manley

Lydia Manley – Dexter’s Wife

Dalis Manley – Dexter’s Daughter

Dexter Manley II – Dexter’s Son

Eric Dickerson – Dexter’s Second Cousin

Joe Theismann – Redskins Teammate

Joe Gibbs – Former Redskins head coach

Steve Buckhantz – Sportscaster

Charles Mann – Redskins Teammate

Gary Clark – Redskins Teammate

Harry Reid – US Senator

Harold Bailey – Oklahoma State Teammate

Jimmy Johnson – Former Oklahoma State head coach

Darrell Green – Redskins Teammate

Michael Wilbon – Former Washington Post Writer

Mark Murphy – Redskins Teammate

Darryl Grant – Redskins Teammate

John Riggins – Redskins Teammate

Mike Ditka – Former Bears head coach

Provided below are some select quotes from Dexter Manley: A Football Life:

– “Not a whole lot of people come out of Third Ward. You have to be strong about your conviction and what you want to do. I knew what I wanted to do with my life was to play sports. In particular it was to play football.” – Dexter Manley

– “That will have to go down as one of the best fifth round draft choices ever.” – Joe Gibbs

– “Probably the most dangerous release man ever. There were no two guys that could hold him.” – Darryl Grant

– “It was difficult for him being a part of a world of celebrity. He wanted it so bad but he didn’t know what to with it when he got it.” – Joe Theismann

– “The beast was still on my shoulder I just fell apart. I started using more drugs and I got arrested a couple times. That was probably the lowest point in my life.” – Dexter Manley

– “If you can look at his life and learn anything, it’s don’t give up on yourself no matter how bad things get. And things were bad at times but he never gave up. Dexter never gave up on himself.” – Michael Wilbon

This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET. Below is the broadcast schedule for the October episodes:

  • October 2 – Jerome Bettis
  • October 9 – Terrell Owens
  • October 16 – Alan Page
  • October 23 – Steve Largent
  • October 30 – Dick Vermeil


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