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As a 1986 Monday night game against the 49ers at RFK Stadium dragged into the early morning, Redskins linebacker Rich Milot laughed hysterically at the expense of his teammate, Dexter Manley.
The loquacious defensive end was no stranger to trash talking. He'd vowed in the days leading up to the game to "ring" the "clock" of 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, who was in his second game after back surgery. The comment, a metaphorical error, made its way to the San Francisco area.
So by the time the game kicked off, the 49ers had a plan to make Manley pay. They split 6-6, 240-pound tight end Russ Francis off the line of scrimmage so he could have a clear shot at the 6-3, 257-pound Manley.
Milot had a front-row seat.
"Francis hit Dexter so hard that he sent him flying through the air," Milot said. "He clobbered him. It happened right in front of me. Russ was a big man. Honestly, all I could do was laugh. It was just the funniest thing in the world. Initially, you don't want to laugh because you want to see if he's hurt. Then you have to laugh hysterically. I was laughing for the next four plays."
Milot added: "When Dexter got up, he said, `Milot!, Milot! You didn't tell me it was coming.' To this day, he thinks I did that on purpose, that I didn't tell him about Russ Francis. But really, Dexter loves that story."
Francis pounded Manley at least three times in the game, but the defensive end was never injured or knocked out of the game. "These were not little baby hits," Milot recalled.
As for Montana, Manley never did "clean" his "clock" in the truest sense. But he did force the now-Hall of Fame quarterback, who was sacked three times, to fumble once. Milot recovered the ball. Montana also threw three interceptions. Manley is today the Redskins' all-time sack leader with 97.5.
The Redskins beat the 49ers, 14-6, to remain tied with the Giants for the lead in the NFC East at 9-2. Rich Milot, meanwhile, enjoyed an amusing night.
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