CARLISLE, PA., JULY 27 -- Dexter Manley, speaking frankly about his financial worries, football future and life as a recovering addict, admitted today he probably won't be allowed to play in the Canadian Football League and is preparing for at least four more months without football.

Friends say he also has virtually reconciled himself to the fact that when he does return, it won't be with the Washington Redskins, and that he has begun talking about what other teams might need him.

Manley said he knows few details of attorney Bob Woolf's attempt to get him released from his contract with the Redskins, but that, for now, he has redirected his hopes toward returning to the National Football League in mid-November.

Woolf has had no contact with the NFL since early in the week. League officials have told him Manley has six games remaining on his Redskins contract and that there's nothing to negotiate. Woolf had hinted he might take legal action, but apparently won't.

Regardless, Manley would face several other hurdles before he could be cleared to play in the CFL, which honors both NFL contracts and NFL suspensions. Even if he could buy out his contract, Manley certainly wouldn't be able to convince NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to lift the ban.

Manley, in a 30-minute interview from Houston, where he's doing volunteer work for the John Lucas Center, admitted that staying clean has been a constant struggle and that there are days when the temptation has been as severe as the regret.

"I threw a lot of things out the window when I snorted that coke," he said.

He said he had no idea whether or not the Redskins want him back and hasn't talked to club officials in several months. He said several times that his hopes now are that Tagliabue will lift his lifetime ban for substance abuse on Nov. 18 -- the one-year anniversary of the suspension, which, under NFL rules, is the earliest he can apply for reinstatement.

The Redskins won't comment on Manley, although team officials occasionally have hinted he is not in their plans. It's widely believed around the NFL that Coach Joe Gibbs considered his conduct the past couple of years a needless distraction and Manley's performances average enough to live without.

But Manley wants to play somewhere, and, to prepare for football, has temporarily left his job with Commonwealth United Mortgage Co. in Fairfax and said he'll spend the next four months doing volunteer work at the Lucas center, where he himself underwent rehabilitation last winter.

"At first, I thought about the CFL," Manley said in a telephone interview. "But that would be the easy way out. I don't want to look like I'm skirting my responsibility. I messed up, made a mistake and want to pay for it."

He said he struggles with both his addiction and self-esteem, as most recovering addicts do, and that when Tagliabue rejected his request for early reinstatement "it was a real blow."

"The only time it {cocaine} crosses my mind is when things don't go right," he said. "Like when the commissioner said I couldn't come back early. I had such high hopes. People in recovery have to have hopes to cling to. I gave up something that I liked and the first thing I thought about was going back to it. But I didn't. I'm not going to."

That struggle has been especially tough since the Redskins returned to training camp. For the first time since 1981 -- the year Gibbs took over as coach -- Manley won't be part of the team, and that, he said, is almost too much to take.

"I love the city of Washington," he said, "but it would be extremely tough to live in Washington and not play. I just don't think I could and that's why I got out of the city limits and won't let myself get caught up in everything. I don't want to watch someone else play when I know I'm the best. It would be very depressing. Here in Houston, I'll be working and have a sense of gratification about myself."

Manley's friends said it's that sense of self-worth that has troubled him most during the suspension. Manley himself twice told the story he heard from a passenger on his flight to Houston.

"The man said his boy still looked up to me because I'd made a mistake and was willing to stand up for it," he said.

Chris Applegate, Manley's friend and the manager of Commonwealth United, said: "Not playing is really eating away at him. He was a legend here and he thinks people have forgotten about him. It won't kill him, but he has days when he struggles. The commissioner's decision hit him pretty hard and Dexter was very low for a few days. Right now, he just doesn't think people are still behind him. I told him that was crazy and the best way to get back was to make good use of his time."

Woolf had said money was a factor in seeking his release. Manley agreed that it was a problem because, "Right now, I'm earning zero dollars, and eventually what you saved is going to start to shrink."

Mostly, Manley spoke about his struggle with addiction, with regretting that he hadn't had the strength to succeed in his battle in the past. He said several times that he had used cocaine only once before testing positive for the third time.

"I'd been clear a year and a half and figured once wouldn't hurt," he said. "I made a bad decision. But I talked to a guy on the plane coming down here and he said, 'Just think, Dexter, you're getting another chance.' I'm really hanging onto that."