While the Washington Redskins have given no public indication as to their plans concerning Dexter Manley, two teams apparently have.
The Phoenix Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams have expressed some interest in the suspended defensive end, if he becomes eligible to return to the NFL.
Cardinals Coach Joe Bugel, a longtime assistant with the Redskins, told the (Baltimore) Sun: "If he can curb his off-the-field activities and get back to the way he used to play, I'll tell you this: He can help any ballclub.
"Personally, I have a lot of respect for Dexter Manley. The guy can play football.
Contacted by the paper at his Northern Virginia home, Manley said, "I'm excited that somebody said something good about me."
"We would be willing to sit down and find out where he is as a person," Rams Coach John Robinson said.
Manley and Paul Tagliabue have a meeting scheduled for today in New York, and the commissioner said a ruling on whether Manley will be allowed to resume his career could come Monday.
The defensive end was banned from the NFL for life last Nov. 18 after failing a third drug test. Manley said he has passed all subsequent tests.
Gibbs Has Unusual Meeting
An unusual and important week for the Redskins acquired an air of intrigue yesterday when Coach Joe Gibbs called a team meeting in a fashion apparently unprecedented during his 10 seasons with the club.
After all the players and coaches had drifted onto the field for practice, and the team had gone through its usual regime of rehearsing punts and field goals, Gibbs waved everyone back into the locker room.
Offensive line coach Jim Hanifan said he was taken by surprise and 12th-year linebacker Monte Coleman, who has spent his entire career with the Redskins, said it was the first time that sort of thing had happened since Gibbs took over in 1981.
After spending about 15 minutes inside, the team emerged solemnly.
"It was just a little get-together we had, that's all," Gibbs said. "I had some things I wanted to talk about."
He said it had nothing to do with anything he saw during the team's first few minutes on the field, but he declined to elaborate. Several players also declined to comment.
The Redskins are an injury-riddled team coming off a difficult loss last Monday to the Eagles. Facing a key game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at RFK Stadium, it is possible Gibbs decided a little refocusing was in order.
Rutledge Healing Quickly
There is still no decision about who will back up starting quarterback Mark Rypien on Sunday, but Jeff Rutledge practiced extensively with the scout team, held for kicker Chip Lohmiller and reported no discomfort in his bruised right thumb.
"I was really super pleased," Gibbs said, "because I was thinking it might be something that would keep him out for a week. . . . I think he's bounced back real well. It's a miraculous thing."
"That's what the doc said too," said Rutledge, who was examined after practice by team physician Charles Jackson. "The improvement from" Wednesday to yesterday "was unbelievable. I didn't expect it this fast. I took snaps and it felt fine."
Elsewhere on the injury front, linebacker Greg Manusky (sprained knee) and offensive linemen Russ Grimm (ankle), Mark Schlereth (sprained ankle) and Ed Simmons (swollen knee) practiced almost in full. Punter Ralf Mojsiejenko reported some stiffness in his sprained ankle and practiced sparingly. Defensive end Charles Mann (sprained right knee) and cornerback Darrell Green (strained calf) did not practice.
Dupard Reports in Shape
Running back Reggie Dupard, re-signed Tuesday because of the injury to running back Gerald Riggs, said he had been keeping himself in shape by working out in Dallas with about 15 other players -- many of whom are hoping to catch on with the new World League of American Football.
"We had everything except a quarterback," Dupard said. "We had guys trying to quarterback, but I have to tell you, I still need work on my hands."