As bedroom communities go, Reston is one of Northern Virginia's most quiet--which is just fine by the half-dozen Washington Redskins who live there.
But if what happened two weeks ago was any indication, Redskin Fever grips Reston's 36,000 residents just as hard as it does Hog-adoring fans in downtown Washington.
Just ask Dexter Manley. When the Redskins' ace defensive end eased his 6-foot-3-inch, 253-pound frame into Popeye's Fried Chicken the other day, the Reston restaurant was mobbed by well-wishers and autograph hounds.
"Shoot, I don't even know the people who live next to me or across from me," Manley said this week from his home in the Colts Neck Apartments in Reston. "I try to keep a low profile. I guess what's happening now goes along with being part of the world champion team."
Manley moved to Colts Neck at the start of the football strike last fall, and is now hunting for a town house in Reston, he said. He has been living at the apartments on a month-to-month basis. That kind of arrangement, said Colts Neck manager Bill Hession, is the best way to accommodate Redskins and their quirky schedules.
"We had a whole bunch of players here during training camp," said Hession, whose tenants ignore his fondness for the Dallas Cowboys. "Most folks know they live here, but they leave them pretty much to themselves."
Many of the 900 tenants at Colts Neck--and residents of the nearby Winterthur Apartments, where other players live--celebrated last month's Super Bowl triumph over the Miami Dolphins with skyrockets and cheers. One of Manley's unknown neighbors hung a banner from a balcony to welcome him home.
"Even though I really don't know them," said Manley, who sparked a key turnover in the 27-17 win, "the people around here have been very nice."
The Winterthur Apartments, where guards Russ Grimm and Darryl Grant and tackle Joe Jacoby have lived recently, have been home to Redskins since 1978, according to manager Jeane Kruse.
"We like to think we have a very good relationship with Redskin Park," said Kruse, who has hosted rookie players and helped them settle in after training camp. "The players value their privacy," Kruse said, "but because many of them are and have been here, I think we get more Redskin Fever than most places."
Donald J. Planty, whose house on Reston's Double Eagle Court is next to that of center Jeff Bostick, said his famous neighbor prefers to keep a low profile.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm for the team in this neighborhood," said Planty, a State Department employe, "but we don't want to intrude on their privacy. The parents here have told their kids that the Bosticks have a right to their own time. And I think the kids understand that."
Still, Reston did catch The Fever. Planty, who was in Europe on Super Bowl Sunday, was not about to miss the Redskins' finest hour.
He watched the game on Italian television.