Manley served time for crack possession

Updated: March 5, 2004, 2:45 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Former NFL star Dexter Manley was released from prison early Friday after serving two years for possessing crack cocaine.

"I'm really excited to be back out here in the free world and being an example of what I can do versus what I cannot do," Manley, a former Washington Redskins player, told Houston television station KRIV-TV shortly after his release.

Manley, who starred for the Washington Redskins, was plagued by drug problems throughout his career.

In 1989, Manley failed a drug test and was suspended from the NFL. The next year he joined the Arizona Cardinals and later played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he retired in 1991 after a second failed drug test.

The defensive end was arrested four times from November 1994 to July 1995 for possessing small quantities of crack cocaine. He later was convicted and served 15 months of a four-year sentence. He was paroled in November 1996 and in 2002 convicted of evidence tampering for swallowing cocaine during a January 2001 drug bust.

"I want to build my life and put it back together again," Manley, 46, said Friday. "I am going to make smart decisions. I have a willingness to stay sober."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press