Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday the Chicago Bears took two shots at defensive end Dexter Manley's knee in their game in September, apparently in response to a controversial comment Manley made about running back Walter Payton.
The remark concerned NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who called Gibbs that week to ask about it, Gibbs said.
Manley was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times as saying, "We're gonna have to knock Walter Payton out of the game. We're gonna have to do that." Manley later said he didn't mean it.
The incident came up yesterday when Gibbs said at his press conference that he has cautioned his players to be careful this week when they talk about the Dallas Cowboys, whom they play at 4 p.m. Sunday at RFK Stadium.
"The first two plays of the game, the tight end (Emery Moorehead) lines up on Dexter's side, the tackle (Andy Frederick) pass sets and whaappp, right from the outside on his outside knee," Gibbs said. "So, that's how they start the game off, and that's what happens to Dexter . . . If (players) get caught up in something like that, that's just what the other team's going to do."
Dick Stanfel, Chicago's offensive line coach, said yesterday by phone that the Bears did not "retaliate" against Manley in their 45-10 victory. "We use that play a lot, especially when there's a good defensive end we have to stop," he said. "We were not retaliating. It wasn't anything to get after the person. We didn't have that in mind. It's in our game plan."
Gibbs said he cautions his players. "I tell them, 'Be careful with the comments that you make.' I say that all the time during the year . . . I say it almost every time we're going to play somebody a second time," he said. "I don't say, 'Don't talk about Dallas.' I don't tell them what to say. The only thing I caution them about is, 'Be careful what you say.' "