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Colts Sign Mark Rypien to Deal (Associated Press) ... but because his young son, Andrew, was suffering from a malignant brain tumor and his wife,... - Jul 31 7:59 PM ET


Posted on: 07/31/2001

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Tuesday July 31 7:58 PM ET "Colts Sign Mark Rypien to Deal"

Colts Sign Mark Rypien to Deal

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, Rypien signed a one-year contract for the minimum salary plus incentives with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

"I think he really feels he has some unfinished business," agent Ken Staninger said. "He's looking forward to the challenge of being the No. 2 quarterback in Indianapolis."

Rypien joins a roster that currently lists four quarterbacks - Peyton Manning, Billy Joe Hobert, Roderick Robinson and Dave Meyer. Rypien was not immediately avaiable for comment.

Rypien, 38, has not played in the NFL since 1997 when he was 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 then.

"I think the reason he had to leave the game was the illness to his son, and that's not a real fond memory," Staninger explained. "He has been practicing for three months, but he has not been on a playing field."

Rypien also has played hockey and golf routinely.

Staninger said he'd spoken with the Colts and other teams about Rypien's desire to play football again, for the past two months.

It wasn't until last week, though, that the Colts scheduled a workout with Rypien, the MVP of the 1992 Super Bowl in which Washington defeated Buffalo 37-24.

"His agent called us and said he was looking for a chance," coach Jim Mora said following the Colts' morning practice session Tuesday. "We thought we'd take a look."

The Colts apparently liked what they saw, signing Rypien within hours of his workout.

One reason the Colts were interested in Rypien, Staninger said, was his 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," he said.

Rypien's playoff experience all 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.

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.

Staninger said the shoulder is sound.

"He has rehabbed it," Staninger said. "It's not an issue to them whatsoever."

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

Now, a little less than two months before turning 39, Rypien is ready for another chance in the NFL.

"Even when Mark was 22, his strengths were his arm strength, his intelligence and his toughness," Staninger said. "Mark's got more intelligence now than when he was 22 and he thinks his arm strength is as good. Some guys lose a step, but Mark never had that step to lose."

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Colts Bring in Rypien for Workout (July 31)

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