Part one of a three
Dexter Manley walked into a pawn shop one day in 1998 and slapped his 1983 Super Bowl ring on the table. Sweat was dripping down his face. He was desperate, about to be kicked out of his house.
More than a bed to sleep in, though, he needed cocaine, a habit he figures cost him $2 million over the years. He sold the ring for $1,000 and snorted it away abracadabra . green money turned into white powder.
Fourteen years later, at age 53, the 6 foot 3, 250 pounder, who, as a defensive end, made life miserable for NFL quarterbacks such as John Elway, Neil Lomax, Doug Flutie, Danny White and David Woodley, has his ring back.
He has kicked a cocaine habit that sent him on 37 trips to rehab centres. He has been sober for six years.
After reading at a Grade 2 level throughout much of his early adult life, he can read and write, tossing words such as intrepidation and dichotomy into his sentences.
He has found purpose in a life that was plagued by bad decisions jailed christian louboutin outlet four times at times homeless and hopeless.
He no longer threatens to kill himself. Manley reportedly called 911 more than 20 times to keep from hurting himself, and once was talked off the ledge of his apartment.
He doesn drive expensive, fast cars or expensive, fast women. He had 103.5 sacks during his 11 year NFL career. He was given a $45,000 signing bonus and $60,000 salary in 1981, his rookie season.
was 21 years old, Manley said. watch men driving around in their nice Mercedes Benz. They lived in nice homes and they always had six or seven women around t christian louboutin outlet hem. I was young and fresh and green. You always wanted to fit in with the most popular guys in town. You wanted to be like them. would become like them, and then some.
grew up in a church, Manley said. had a fence around me my whole life. I was thinking, don need God, I was a self made man. I got full of myself. I didn use drugs . until I got to the NFL.
would go out in Georgetown to the bars. One night, it was 1982, a lady asked me about cocaine. I went to her apartment and she came out in high heels and G string panties. I was at the table, chopping up the cocaine, listening to Johnny Taylor. I thought I had really arrived. I thought I was somebody. and champagne became the high life.
But while he was being bad off the field, he was good, damn good, on the field.
In 1986, he had 18.5 sacks, selected to play in the Pro Bowl . while putting much of his salary up his nose. It caught up with him.
By 1989, he had failed his third drug test. In 1991, he failed his fourth.
commissioner wanted to meet me. I had already failed the drug test, Manley said. didn want him to ban me, so I retired. I didn want to face it after all I had worked for. I was devastated that I had to make that announcement on Dec. 12, 1991 that I had to walk away from the game I loved. times, Manley spent time in The Big House. He served 15 months of a four year sentence at Harris County Jail in Houston after pleading guilty for two counts of cocaine possession on Aug. 4, 1995.
remember standing in front of the judge in that orange jumpsuit, Manley said. really wanted to die. I didn want to face it.
were really accessible in Houston. You think you not depressed. You lost your career, your wife is gone, your kids are gone and you still think you on Cloud 9. Cocaine makes you think you still on top of the worl christian louboutin outlet d. I had a brand new 1994 Mercedes Benz 420. I had money when I went to Houston but, in nine months, I was homeless, they repossessed my car, I was living on the doorstep of the YMCA where they run me off. I stayed six or seven months in a hospital. I was a menace to society, in and out of rehab centres. It took me over 15 years to get a one year chip of sobriety. battles in the trenches, trying to outsmart and outmanoeuvre behemoth offensive linemen, were nothing compared to the battle inside, demons that never seemed to go away.
on in this life of addiction if the sun came out, if it was a beautiful spring day, if it was close to the weekend, driving in my $60,000 $70,000 car with Luther Vandross or another R and B singer playing in the background . those were all triggers for me, Manley said. brought it all back. I was in another place. I was in denial.
need to have conviction. You have to have courage. It wasn easy to say no. You meet some new chick, a beautiful lady. And you think sex, drugs and rock and roll, all over again.
though my value system went all agains christian louboutin outlet t that. When I was that black boy in the Baptist church, I never thought this could ever happen. All of a sudden it was happening. I got caught up in it. cocaine? Why use?
first time you try cocaine, it a euphoria feeling, Manley said. keep chasing that feeling. Chasing and chasing. And you never going to get that feeling again.
Houston, it was an $8,000 a week habit for me. I wasn making that kind of money. And that why I was on the street. Manley talked about getting clean, about turning his life around and living up to promises long unfulfilled, his wakeup call came June 17, 2006.
was a Friday night. I was driving my car and I was delusional, he said.
police pulled me over. I was out of it. I had used drugs a couple of days before. The police officer looked at me and said I had to get to the hospital. He got on his walkie talkie and told a rescue squad to pick me up and take me to the hospital. had a colloid cyst the size of a quarter, his brain was swelling. The surgery lasted 12 hours.
that surgery, the doctor, (wife) Lydia and me went to lunch one day. He said to me: you going to be better now. I don think you ever use drugs again. was so afraid I was going to die. It scared me straight. I got 90 days clean, then four months clean, then six months clean . it just kept on going. I changed my whole life. I let God continue to use me. Manley is a changed man.