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Colts Sign Ex-Super Bowl MVP Rypien (Associated Press) ... but because his young son, Andrew, was suffering from a malignant brain tumor and his wife,... - Jul 31 11:40 PM ET

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Posted on: 07/31/2001

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Tuesday July 31 11:38 PM ET "Colts Sign Ex-Super Bowl MVP Rypien"

Colts Sign Ex-Super Bowl MVP Rypien

By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - Former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien is back in the NFL.

Three years after leaving football so he could care for his ill son and wife, the 38-year-old quarterback signed a one-year contract for the minimum salary of $477,000 and incentives with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

"I really got (the urge) last October," Rypien said following his first practice with the Colts. "I'd watched football for a year and a half, I saw the Rams in the playoffs two years ago, saw some old faces. But maybe the biggest thing was my little girl saying 'Dad, why don't you give it another shot?' "

Rypien joins a team with three other quarterbacks - Peyton Manning, Billy Joe Hobert and Roderick Robinson - on its roster. The Colts released another quarterback, rookie free agent Dave Meyer, to clear a spot for Rypien.

Rypien has not played in the NFL since 1997 when he was last with the St. Louis Rams.

He signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 1998, but because his young son, Andrew, was suffering from a malignant brain tumor and his wife, Annette, also was battling a serious illness, Rypien decided to give up football.

The Falcons waived Rypien in July 1998. A month later, Rypien's son died. His wife has since recovered from her illness, but Rypien has not played football since.

"When my son passed away almost three years ago to the day, it was important to get myself and my family together," he said.

Not so strangely, Rypien's family also played a prominent part in his return.

Rypien's youngest daughter, Angela, who will turn 11 in October, said she couldn't remember her father playing football.

That spurred Rypien, who was named the 1992 Super Bowl MVP in a 37-24 victory over Buffalo, to start preparing three months ago. Last week, the Colts scheduled a workout and signed him within hours.

"He seemed in good condition, very eager to play and his arm strength was good," coach Jim Mora said. "He was very excited about playing, he didn't look like an old guy to me."

But he brings the Colts something they wanted - postseason experience.

"When you take a young superstar quarterback, like Peyton, I guess it's probably helpful to have a backup who's won six or 10 playoff games," said Ken Staninger, Rypien's agent.

All of Rypien's playoff experience came with the Redskins, whom he led to three straight playoff appearances in the early 1990s.

After suffering a shoulder injury the next season, however, Rypien's career crumbled. He had surgery following the '92 season, then was released by the Redskins after 12 games in 1993.

"I always felt, before Andrew got sick, that things didn't end the way I wanted them to in Washington," Rypien said.

The next season, Rypien wound up in Cleveland, where he started three games. In 1995, Rypien signed with the St. Louis Rams as a backup to Chris Miller, but when the Rams tried to re-sign him, Rypien said he'd rather retire than accept the pay cut the Rams offered.

In October 1996, Rypien came back as a backup for the Philadelphia Eagles, then returned to St. Louis for the 1997 season.

"I told Mark 'We've got a young team,' " Mora said. " 'But with you, we just made it a little older."

Now, Rypien's in Indianapolis, hoping his second chance in the NFL will be a success.

"If I didn't feel I could come here and work to the point where Billy Joe or I or whoever, if we were called upon, could do the job," Rypien said. "I wouldn't be here."

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Earlier Stories
Colts Sign QB Mark Rypien to Deal (July 31)
Colts Sign Mark Rypien to Deal (July 31)
Colts Bring in Rypien for Workout (July 31)

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