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The Inside Track

Hot Corner

January 19, 2004

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, heard, observed, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.


What: "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel."

Where: HBO, Tuesday night, 10.

Dexter Manley is making news again. Typically, it is not good news. The former Washington Redskin defensive end with a history of drug problems is in a state jail outside his hometown of Houston, site of the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, completing a two-year sentence for a cocaine conviction.

Reporter Armen Keteyian takes on this once-ferocious pass rusher in a sit-down interview and more than holds his own.

Manley was banned from the NFL in 1989 after repeated drug offenses, but he seemed to be getting his life in order before his latest drug bust. He tells Keteyian the "beast in him" made him do drugs in a Houston motel, where he was arrested. He says he went there after getting paid for an appearance on FX's "Toughman" show in 2001. Now he says -- in convincing fashion -- that he is done with drugs.

But Keteyian doesn't let Manley off the hook easily. He tells Manley, "Someone who has covered the NFL for a long time [said], 'Dexter Manley is the biggest [liar] I have ever seen or heard in my life when it comes to these kinds of stories.' "

Surprisingly, Manley says, "I have to agree. You become a manipulator. I've been lying my whole life."

One lie came to light in 1986. He was 29 when he admitted that, despite playing college ball at Oklahoma State, he was functionally illiterate.

"You do whatever it takes," Manley says. "I mean, I didn't want to speak out, so I learned all these mechanisms. I wore a lot of different masks to survive. But I can't continue to wear a mask."

Also interviewed is Manley's wife, Lydia, who comes across as a saint. She hopes that her husband is finally telling the truth.

Another segment profiles high school wrestler Kyle Maynard, one of the top 103-pound wrestlers in Georgia. He was born without arms below the biceps or legs below the thighs. Not only will his wrestling skills amaze you, so will his attitude.


-- Larry Stewart

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