Dave Butz and Dexter Manley remain the certainties, the stabilizers of the Washington Redskins' defensive line.
Remove the face masks, though, and you'll find, as Butz says, "We are as different as different can be."
"Dave is always serious, I'm always playing around," says Manley. "I guess it has to do with growing up. I haven't grown up yet. I'm having too much fun."
Butz is the starting left defensive tackle, entering his 11th National Football League season, his eighth with the Redskins. He is a 33-year-old veteran dedicated to playing hard and acting serious. He is a graduate of Purdue and the old school of football, who says he likes to eat his meals in hotels when the Redskins are on the road, while his younger teammates steal off into an evening of possibilities.
"I'm not offended by being called conservative," says Butz, who is 6 feet 7, 295 pounds, "if that's what has allowed me to play 11 years and earn a good income playing at a position where everybody gets a chance to hit me."
Manley is the 6-3, 253-pound starting right defensive end, entering his third season. He is a 24-year-old with a spirit devoted to quarterback sacks and having fun. If he had his way, it is said, Manley would rather read his playbook under some honky-tonk strobe light and tell a few tales.
Prior to training camp, Manley cut his hair into a Mohawk, called himself "Mr. D." and now, he says, "John Riggins says I should paint a white stripe on my head so I will look like a skunk."
In the Redskins' Super Bowl victory last January, Manley knocked the ball away from Miami quarterback David Woodley and Butz was there to recover, leading to a Redskins' field goal. Manley had 9 1/2 quarterback sacks and Butz had 4 1/2 sacks last season. Both had solidly productive seasons.
Other than that, they are very different.
Butz has politics in his bloodline; Manley jests that he does, too.
Earl Butz, former secretary of agriculture in the Nixon and Ford administrations, is the lineman's uncle. Before joining the cabinet, though, Earl Butz served as dean of continuing education at Purdue in 1969, when Dave Butz began a college career that would make him an all-America.
"My uncle and his refrigerator were always there then," Butz says.
Michael Manley was Jamaica's prime minister, 1972-80. Spicing interest--and fun-loving falsehood--into his words, Dexter Manley will fictionalize: "He's one of my hereditaries. They named the airport in Kingston after him: 'Manley Airport.' When I went there and saw that, I couldn't believe it. But I couldn't tell anybody there I had the same last name as he did. They don't like him there anymore. (Michael Manley now leads the Jamaican opposition party.)"
Dexter Manley leans forward and finishes this tale quietly and with wide eyes, as though Tom Landry might be listening. "If I had told them what my last name was, I might have been killed."
Further comparison between Manley and Butz breeds wonderful differences. Butz talks football strategy, embellishing the intricacies. Manley tells tales, embellishing facts of fantasy. Manley remembers when George Allen coached the Redskins. Butz played for George Allen's Redskins.
Dave Butz was born in Lafayette, Ala., and lived on his father's farm that, he says, housed 2,500 poultry and 150 head of cattle. Butz lived there until he was 6, when his family moved to a suburb of Chicago.
"Halfway between O'Hare and the Loop," Butz will say. He cheered Chicago Bears middle linebacker Dick Butkus, just because he was tough and played all downs.
"I'm very serious about the game," says Butz. "Outside the game, I'm more reflective. I think before I speak."
Manley grew up in Houston and he often wears cowboy boots just to make sure you don't forget. He lives for laughs and adventures. "I like to have fun," Manley says, "and to invest wisely."
Manley led Oklahoma State in tackles for three straight years, then was picked in the fifth round of the 1981 draft by the Redskins. He is a young man of rash activities; he once changed the expiration date on his temporary license plate (and got caught) and, he says, he once got into a fight with two college students, after they blocked Manley's new car into an immovable spot with their cars, during a college party. Manley ended getting cut with a razor blade, leaving a two-inch long scar on his cheek.
"I learned," he says.
Butz lives more for purpose than frolic. Before he was drafted in the first round (fifth pick overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973, Butz says, he worked on a construction crew, loading concrete on Highway 55, just outside St. Louis.
"I did that to get used to the heat and the hard work. I used a flat shovel to clear off the highway. I wore that shovel into the shape of a V by the end," Butz says. "It was more fun than anything."
Butz came to the Redskins with a slew of draft picks in exchange for a slew of draft picks in August 1975. Ever durable, he has played in 55 straight games and has led the Redskins' defensive line in tackles the past three years.
Butz is tough against the run. So it figures that Manley is tough against the pass. Butz rarely smiles. Manley never stops smiling. Butz is married and has two young children. Manley is single. Butz spends some of his free time hand-crafting duck hunting decoys. Manley spent part of his offseason in arm-wrestling contests in Las Vegas.
"I think fans think of me as a person who comes to play, one that has to be dealt with and one that gives them their money's worth," Butz says.
Manley feels he is the third-best defensive end in the NFL, behind Tampa Bay's Lee Roy Selmon and the Jets' Mark Gastineau.
"I guess the fans think of me as someone who speaks out. I don't mean to be controversial. I just say what's on my mind," Manley says. "I believe in Dexter."
The Redskins, in search of an offensive guard, are giving tryouts to Bruce Kimball and Ken Huff. Kimball is a second-year man waived by the New York Giants. Huff is a nine-year man who was not re-signed by the Baltimore Colts. Starting left guard Russ Grimm has a bruised shoulder and likely won't play at Buffalo, according to Joe Bugel, the line coach . . .The Redskins waived rookie linebacker Steve Booker, who was on the injured reserve list . . . Rookie cornerback Darrell Green aggravated a shin injury and cornerback Anthony Washington strained his left knee at practice.