Rypien in camp is no sign that QB will sign contract

May 04, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- All 81 players were present when the Washington Redskins called roll at the start of their annual minicamp yesterday.

It may be a different story when the club opens training camp in July in Carlisle, Pa.

There is a chance that quarterback Mark Rypien, one of the team's eight unsigned veterans, will be a holdout.

Like the rest of the unsigned veterans, including offensive linemen Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby, Rypien decided to attend minicamp.

But unsigned players aren't allowed to go to training camp, and Rypien and the Redskins seem to be far apart.

"I want a fair price for the type of player I am," Rypien said. "I just feel the worth of a player is what the going rate is. Fairness is all we're looking for."

The problem is that the Redskins and Rypien seem to have different definitions of what's fair.

Last year, Rypien asked for $1.5 million a year -- $3 million for two years -- and the Redskins offered an average of $800,000 a year -- $2.4 million for three years.

Rypien rejected their offer and played out his option for $275,000, a decision that cost him almost half a million dollars, because he thought a good season would increase his leverage at the bargaining table.

"It was a gamble, something we thought that would probably work in our favor. I didn't expect to get hurt in the third game. We took a gamble. Maybe it paid off; maybe it didn't. I think down the road we'll find out," Rypien said.

Although general manager Charley Casserly and Rypien's agent, Ken Staninger, haven't started talking figures yet, it's unlikely that Rypien is going to lower his demands.

"The average [for a quarterback] is $1.4 [million] for the average starter. I have all the numbers. That's base. Without incentives," Rypien said.

Because Rypien had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery after being injured in Dallas last year and had three passes intercepted in the second half of the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, it's unlikely the Redskins will be willing to go above $1 million.

Meanwhile, Rypien will be facing a challenge in camp from backup Stan Humphries.

"I never shy from a challenge. I think competition is healthy at every position," Rypien said.

The danger for Rypien is that if he holds out, he could lose his job to Humphries and never get it back. That happened last year to Steve Beuerlein of the Los Angeles Raiders, who held out, lost the job to Jay Schroeder and never played.

Rypien rejected that comparison.

"Steve Beuerlein hasn't won 20 games or played in as many games as I've played in or started as many games as I've started. When you win 13 out of your last 17 games, I'm not trying to say that I'm anything special, [but] I've played in some football games and I do have some sort of prowess there," he said.

Beuerlein has started 15 games; Rypien has started 32 and has posted a 20-12 record.

Rypien said he still hopes to be in camp in July.

"I don't want to miss a day of anything," he said.

Unless there's a sudden change of position, Rypien may well miss more than a day.

NOTES: One rookie free agent, G Chris Stearns of the University of Virginia, left after checking in to take final exams. He'll be back tomorrow. . . . Minicamp closes tomorrow, and the rookies will return June 3 for two weeks of what the Redskins call summer school. Under a new agreement with the NCAA, rookies are allowed at a team's training facility for only one weekend before June 1. . . . Besides Rypien, Grimm and Jacoby, the other unsigned veterans are DL Eric Williams, TE Ken Whisenhunt, WR Stephen Hobbs, DB Martin Mayhew and P Kelly Goodburn.

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