Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told Dexter Manley during a one-hour meeting yesterday that the Washington Redskins defensive lineman will find out Monday whether his drug suspension is going to be lifted.
After Tagliabue met in his office with Manley and his agent, Bob Woolf, he issued a statement saying that he will review a report from National Football League drug adviser Dr. Lawrence S. Brown and "other pertinent records" before making his decision.
He added that Monday he will inform Manley first of his decision and then a public announcement will be made "shortly after he [Manley] is contacted."
It is considered likely that Tagliabue will lift Manley's suspension because Manley has passed all of his drug tests during the past year and has undergone extensive treatment.
Manley was given a lifetime suspension, subject to reinstatement, last Nov. 18, after he failed a cocaine test for the third time. He previously had been suspended for 30 days in training camp in 1988 for flunking a second time.
If Manley is reinstated, the Redskins would have to decide what to do with him.All indications are that the Redskins no longer are interested in Manley and will waive him.
Once Manley is put on waivers, teams will have 24 hours to claim him. The teams with the worst records get the first choice.
Going into this weekend's action, the teams with the worst records are the 1-8 New England Patriots, the 2-7 Phoenix Cardinals and the 2-7 Cleveland Browns.
The Cardinals are considered the most likely team to claim Manley because head coach Joe Bugel, a former Redskins assistant, said Thursday, "The guy can play football."
Manley was not available for comment yesterday, but said Thursday that he was excited when the Cardinals expressed an interest in him.
Manley said his "gut feeling" was that the Redskins no longer wanted him, and he was worried that no other teams would be interested after his one-year layoff.
"I felt this negative overwhelming feeling that nobody else was going to touch me. It's like when I was a kid and I had negative thoughts. This news [that the Cardinals were interested] really solidifies that I'm OK. I feel like a rookie who's going to come back," he said.
Manley said he will miss playing in Washington -- "It's tough to know that I may never wear burgundy and gold again" -- but he appears eager for a new start and likes the idea of going to Phoenix.
"I'll sell tickets," Manley said. "You can take that to the bank. Sometimes with my mouth, but I can play. When I get back, ohhh, man."