Rypien says ripping fans was boo-boo

September 15, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- It was damage control time for Mark Rypien yesterday.

The Washington Redskins quarterback apologized for criticizing fans Sunday after they booed him during introductions before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at RFK Stadium. However, he didn't seem to be apologizing to the fans who did the booing.

"Ninety percent of the fans of this whole area are as die-hard a fans as I've ever seen," Rypien said. "I apologize to those and the people I might have overreacted to."

Earlier, during his weekly paid appearance on WRC-TV (Channel 4) in Washington, he said to the fans with a big smile: "Please take me back."

Speaking to reporters later, he said he was still "shocked" and "hurt" by the booing and admitted he probably would say the same thing again in the same circumstances.

"Maybe I shouldn't have reacted the way I did, but I'm human, too," Rypien said.

Rypien said he could understand being booed if he threw an interception or fumbled, but not during the introductions.

"I could have seen it if I'd blown things on Super Bowl Sunday," he said.

Instead, he was the MVP in the Super Bowl, but apparently the fans have high expectations because he held out for a $3 million-a-year contract. They weren't happy with his poor showing against the Dallas Cowboys in the opener, a 23-10 loss.

The Redskins wanted Rypien to smooth things over before his feud with the fans escalated. Washington talk shows were deluged with complaints about Rypien yesterday, and many have suggested benching him for Cary Conklin, who has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game.

Coach Joe Gibbs praised the fans and Rypien yesterday and said that players sometimes get their feelings hurt and, "You may say something and regret it later."

Rypien tried to close the book on the incident. "Right now it's over with and hopefully I can get back to playing good football," he said. "That's what I'm paid to do."

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