Charles Mann, who sacked quarterbacks and won titles as a member of the legendary Super Bowl-winning Washington Redskins teams of the 1980s and ‘90s, added a new honor to his resume Sunday — the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
“I’m excited,” Mann said before Sunday’s induction at Nationals Park. “My name will forever be up on this banner … Being recognized in the town where I’ve lived and where I’ve made and had my successes, it is quite an honor.”
The former defensive lineman, who was named to two All-Pro squads, made four Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls during his 12-year NFL career, has been a fixture in the Washington area since his playing days, founding the Good Samaritan Foundation with former teammates Art Monk, Tim Johnson and Earnest Byner to help area youth get into college and learn the necessary skills to get into the workforce.
Looking back on a lifetime in football, he said he switched to the sport from basketball as a kid because he was being called for too many fouls.
“I fouled out too easily. You know, I liked being rough, I liked to put my hands on people and you know, you get a foul. And so a lot of times I’d sit on the bench instead of playing, because they called simple fouls … and so I realized I probably needed to do something a little bit more physical.”
But Mann didn’t get serious about football until his senior year in high school, when he realized he wanted to play the game in college.
After skipping a couple of seasons to work at a local supermarket, he realized time was running out.
“I’m (preparing) to finish up high school and I’m not playing,” he said, but I’d like to play college football,” Mann said. “And so I finally got up enough nerve … to tell my manager that I quit.”
Mann got a response from his boss that most employees would never expect.
“’I’ve been waiting for you to tell me that the whole time. What took you so long?’” Mann recalled his boss saying. “‘You tell everybody around here, you want to play professional football one day. Well, I figured you had to go, you know, you had to play in your high school senior year to have a chance.’”
Mann went on to play in college at the University of Nevada at Reno before he was drafted by the Redskins in 1983.
In those days, he said, the District and the surrounding region had a connection with the Redskins that was unshakeable.
“Georgetown would be shut down because we’d beat the Dallas Cowboys and people were swinging for the light poles and acting a fool,” Mann said. “That, that doesn’t happen anymore. And the difference is winning. When you win, it covers everything.”
The 58-year-old California native was named to the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame last year and says he wouldn’t mind at least one more induction ceremony.
“Maybe there’s another Hall of Fame in the future for me, maybe,” Mann said, alluding to Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame with a smile. “I keep my fingers crossed. I just don’t want to make it in the old man’s category. I want to go in while I’m a modern-era guy.”