So many fascinating qualities are attached to Charles Mann, Washington Redskins rookie defensive end, who has Dexter Manley-like quickness, a massive, growing body and who in one summer night won $1,000 playing at a Reno blackjack table with $10 minimum stakes.
"I want to show the Washington Redskins what I can do," Mann, 22, said today. "I want to play for the Washington Redskins. I want to play for them badly."
"He's a very talented young pass rusher, and athletic-type defensive ends are hard to find," said Coach Joe Gibbs of the third-round draft pick from the University of Nevada-Reno, whose 6-foot-6, 250-pound physique is crammed with muscle with much room to grow.
Mann is a prospect. He is short on technique, high on potential. When the Redskins play the Baltimore Colts at 1 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in a game of rookies, free agents and selected veterans, Mann says he will face Chris Hinton, a rookie offensive lineman of renown.
"I plan to outquick him," said Mann, "and hopefully that will help me get my foot in the door here. He's just a rookie like me. It will be a challenge.
"Last year, the Redskins kept eight defensive linemen. All eight are coming back. Anything I can do will help me. I'm a third-round pick and there's no insurance. I'm going to work as hard as a free agent."
"Quickness and strength, a hard worker and coachable," Lavern (Torgy) Torgeson, defensive line coach, said of Mann. "He's got the same type of quickness as Dexter (Manley, Redskins defensive end), though probably not quite that quick. I'd like to see him play up at 260."
While others Redskins toil and sweat to lose weight, Dan Riley, strength coach, has ordered Mann to to eat three full meals a day. "And snacks, too" said Mann, a native of Sacramento, Calif. "My body fat was measured at 4.8 percent, which is real low. But I have been able to put on five or six pounds since I've been here."
Mann terrorized the Big Sky Conference last year with 14 sacks. "Mediocre conference," he says. "But it had some big dudes."
Mann admitted it was difficult to stay away from Nevada's lights in his first few months; he took a job as a parking attendant at Harrah's Casino in Reno one summer.
"I figured I had given them so much of my money, anyway. I wanted to get some of it back," Mann said, laughing.
He started the night he won $1,000 playing blackjack, he said, by losing a $400 hand. "I was hurt, believe me, I was hurt. There was a big crowd around. So I pulled out $1,000 I still had and showed everybody there. The dealer kind of laughed at me, like 'I got you sucker.' I wanted to jump across the table and grab him."
That is similar to the way Redskins veteran offensive guard Mark May has treated Mann so far in camp. After Mann slipped past May, who reported early to camp, in their first encounter, the veteran with the refined techniques took charge.
"He got me twice, threw me down both times. I was getting frustrated," said Mann. "He was so quick with his hands and that's the whole thing. After that, I couldn't sleep. I said to myself 'Damn, I have to get by May. He's making me look bad.' I was fired up. So next practice, I was waiting for him."
Then May came up with one more veteran's trick. "The next day," said Mann, learning the law of the Redskins' land, "he didn't practice."
Tickets for Saturday's scrimmage at Baltimore at $3, will be available at the gate and will benefit charities . . . The 20 or so remaining Redskins' veterans must report by Saturday. Only Jeris White, unsigned 10-year cornerback, is not expected to report . . . The roster was trimmed to 105 today by placing on waivers wide receiver John Boyd (Indiana), and linebackers Stan Holloway (California) and Marlin Evans (Indiana). Also, defensive end Shawn Miller (Utah State) left training camp . . . Among the Redskins' veterans scheduled to play Saturday are quarterbacks Tom Owen and Bob Holly, offensive tackle Don Laster and strong safety Ken Coffey.