If Dexter Manley is allowed to play in the Canadian Football League, it probably will be for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Although he still is under contract to the Washington Redskins, the Blue Bombers yesterday added Manley to their "negotating list" and will have his rights if he receives his release.
A "negotiating list" is a secret list that all CFL teams submit to the league office on a first-come, first-grabbed basis. The lists are confidential and each team is allowed only a limited number of players.
Generally, it is used by teams to tab certain players a CFL team believes might be available or interested in coming to the CFL. For instance, while Joe Montana probably has never been on a CFL list, Doug Flutie had been on some team's list in all five seasons since he left Boston College.
Teams also may trade the signing rights to players and those rights are routinely part of trade packages.
Manley is not yet eligible to be signed by anyone, because he still has six games left on his contract with the Redskins. That is how many games were left last season when he received a lifetime ban from the NFL for violating its substance abuse policy.
Manley is eligible to apply for readmission on Nov. 18 -- the one-year anniversary of his ban. His attorney, Bob Woolf, recently asked Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to reinstate Manley early.
Tagliabue refused and Woolf hopes to meet with him next week to plead his client's case further. Woolf won't say it, but several sources believe he will sue the NFL if Tagliabue does not let Manley out of his Redskins contract.
Woolf said Manley needs the money, and with his NFL contract still binding and barring him from the CFL -- which honors NFL contracts -- Manley has no way to make a living in pro football.
Manley was unavailable for comment yesterday.