Bob Woolf, the attorney for former Redskins defensive end Dexter Manley, said yesterday he soon will begin working to get Manley reinstated by the National Football League.

Woolf -- in town yesterday to promote his book, "Friendly Persuasion: My Life as a Negotiator" -- said he's confident NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will reinstate Manley, whom the league banned for life last year after a third violation of its substance abuse policies.

Manley will be eligible for reinstatement by Tagliabue on Nov. 18, exactly one year after the lifetime ban was handed down.

"I believe the commissioner is very sympathetic, and I think he really personally likes Dexter," Woolf said. "The first goal is to get him reinstated and the next goal is to have him playing."

Woolf, one of the pioneers of sports representation, said Manley would like to return to the Redskins, who were actively trying to trade him this summer. "My goal would be to have him back in Washington," Woolf said.

Asked about Manley yesterday, Coach Joe Gibbs said: "I've answered that several other times and nothing has changed. It's out of my hands and, until someone tells me otherwise, there's no decision to make" until Manley is reinstated.

Woolf said Manley's public admission of his drug problem during a news conference in Washington in late November was one of the most memorable moments of his 26 years in the business.

In his book, Woolf writes that Manley spent the week following the third positive drug test denying he'd used anything, but that he finally called Woolf to admit he'd been lying.

That same day, then-Houston Rockets guard John Lucas was in Boston for a game with the Celtics, and he called Woolf at his Boston office to ask if he could help Manley. Lucas and Woolf convinced Manley to go public with his addiction.

"It was like a miracle {that Lucas was in Boston}," Woolf said.