Dexter Manley is among the gold standard of Washington Redskins. He remains a household name around Washington even 28 years since his last quarterback takedown.
But Ryan Kerrigan may threaten that legacy come 2020. The linebacker earned his third Pro Bowl honor on Tuesday and is within 23½ sacks of Manley’s 91. Indeed, Kerrigan is already third on the team’s all-time sacks list and trails No. 2 Charles Mann by 14½.
So is Kerrigan worthy of surpassing Manley? Maybe, but older fans will always favor Manley. He was funny, quirky and unafraid of threatening quarterbacks. Back then, Manley was a physical force in the league at 6-feet-3, 253 pounds. Somehow, those numbers seem understated. Even today, shake Manley’s hand at your own peril and ready to squeeze back.
Manley started 113 of 125 games for Washington over 1981-89 before playing sparingly two more seasons in Arizona and Tampa Bay. His best season was 18½ sacks in 1986, but recorded at least nine sacks when playing 10 or more games annually.
Mann was Manley’s counterpart for many years as the team’s dominant pass rush. Mann started 145 of 163 games with the Redskins from 1983-93 before finishing in San Francisco in 1994. His best season was 14 ½ sacks in 1985.
Kerrigan has started every game since arriving in 2011. His best season was 13½ sacks in 2014, but has recorded at least 8½ sacks each prior season. He has 7½ this year with two games remaining.
Should Kerrigan remain healthy another three seasons in Washington, he might grab Manley’s record. But, Manley and Mann each have two Super Bowl rings. That’s the difference when discussing legacy. And that’s why nobody will ever surpass Dexter among older fans.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.