“I just think he is scared.” said Dalis Manley, who lives outside Atlanta but has been talking to her father by phone.
She said the 61-year-old Manley started to feel ill a little more than two weeks ago when he no longer could do his regular running and other workouts. He told her he had been wearing a mask regularly and was diligent about washing his hands. He told her he suspected he contracted the virus one day when he didn’t have his mask but had to stop at a gas station convenience store.
He tested positive for the coronavirus May 2 and has steadily run a temperature between 101 and 104 degrees. In recent days, he has had a harder time breathing and struggled with his balance. During a phone call in the middle of last week she noticed he had trouble speaking.
Toward the end of the week, Manley began coughing at night, his fever worsened, and he felt cold and was shivering. He decided early Friday to go to the hospital. She said doctors told the family that he has pneumonia.
“He hasn’t gotten worse, but they’re worried about his breathing,” Manley’s son Dexter Manley II said Saturday evening.
Another person close to Manley’s family said the former all-pro defensive end is “stable and resting comfortably” after Manley’s oxygen levels dropped in recent days. The person had spoken to Manley’s doctors, who said that Manley “is a big strong guy and is not in imminent danger.”
In 2006, Manley underwent more than 10 hours of brain surgery to remove an enlarged colloid cyst that was collecting fluid and putting pressure on his brain, causing him to feel disoriented. He recovered from the surgery and often appears at Redskins functions and games.
Concern rose Saturday morning among Manley’s friends and former teammates after Facebook posts from Dalis and former linemate Darryl Grant led some to fear the worst. But as some ex-Redskins called around, those fears diminished.
“Dexter is in the hospital, and we are praying for a speedy recovery,” ex-Redskins star Charles Mann, who co-hosts a podcast with Manley, said in a text message Saturday afternoon.
Nicknamed “The Secretary of Defense,” Manley was a dominant force in his nine-year Redskins career. From 1983 to 1986, he had at last 11 sacks a season. His best year was 1986, when he had 18.5 sacks and recovered a fumble for a touchdown. He had 2.5 total sacks in the team’s victories in Super Bowls XVII and XXII.
His charm and big smile made him one of the most popular players in a franchise filled with huge personalities during its 1980s glory days. But off the field he battled alcohol and drug problems for years, leading to several drug-related arrests and multiple stays in rehabilitation facilities after he left football in 1991. In recent years, he has gotten past those problems, though.
“He hasn’t been stopped yet, so I don’t think [the coronavirus] will do it now,” Dexter Manley II said.
Jake Russell and Mark Maske contributed to this report.
Read more on the Washington Redskins: