Rypien notes support from teammates, staff

January 01, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- When quarterback Mark Rypien walked off the field after the Washington Redskins' final game yesterday, defensive lineman Tim Johnson saluted him.

" 'You're one of the toughest guys I know,' " Johnson said he told Rypien.

He continued: " 'Don't you dare hang your head. You have no reason to hang your head after the way you played today.' I wanted to encourage him."

Rypien, who has gone from the heights of the Super Bowl to the depths of being hurt this year and then benched, appreciated the remarks after he played what may have been his last Redskins game.

Rypien passed for 164 yards in the 14-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, but he kept getting up after being knocked down time after time by the fierce Minnesota rush.

"As a player, the one thing I've always felt is that our coaching staff and our players have never turned their back on any individual," said Rypien. "They've been my biggest supporters.

"When you put a Super Bowl ring on guys' fingers, you gain respect. The one thing I can say I was able to do is I was the only Redskin quarterback able to win a Super Bowl in a non-strike year [1991]. You have to play 19 pretty good games to get that done. Guys remember that. It meant a lot when Tim come up and said that," he said.

Rypien said last week he thinks the coaches have decided to ship him out -- they deny it -- but he wanted to downplay those comments yesterday.

"I spent enough time giving my opinions on that. It's not that I want to go. That's never been the case. It's more what I kind of feel and kind of sense. [But] let's not beat this thing to a pulp," he said.

Howard speaks

Wide receiver Desmond Howard had his best day as a Redskin yesterday, catching six passes for 68 yards.

The former Heisman Trophy winner, who hasn't been giving interviews the past few weeks apparently because he was upset about the suggestions he was a bust who didn't like to practice, defended himself after the game.

"I'm not saying that I'm a game player. I think I'm a good practice player, too, but you have guys who elevate their games when it's for real. I practice just as hard as I play,

but in a game you can just do more for whatever reason," he said.

Howard doesn't seem to have lost any self-confidence.

"I can catch them when they throw them. They don't throw them, I can't catch them. It wasn't a surprise to me or anybody who knows me. It's just a matter of throwing the ball to Desmond and letting him catch it," he said.

Rookie record for Brooks

Running back Reggie Brooks, who ran 14 times for 68 yards including a 45-yard burst, became the Redskins' first rookie running back to rush for 1,000 yards, as he finished with 1,063 yards.

But he said the losing season tarnished the individual success.

"When you have personal success and it doesn't correspond to what happens to the team, you just feel bad. Right now, I'm disappointed. We've got to get it together next year," he said.

Rypien takes the blame

Kicker Chip Lohmiller missed two field-field goal attempts (from 52 and 35 yards) to finish his subpar year by hitting on 16 of 28.

But Rypien, who started the year holding, gave way to Pat Eilers when he got hurt and finished up when Eilers got hurt, took the blame.

"I thought it would be an easy job, holding. You find if the ball doesn't get back to you perfectly, now you've got to spin the thing and you've got to lean the thing at the same time. You've got to do all this in under 1.3 seconds. I'm rushing things. Chip's going to get a lot of flak for it. I still feel he's the best kicker in the game," Rypien said.

A Carter kind of day

It was a good day for the Minnesota Carters and a bad day for the Washington Carter. Cris Carter caught seven passes for 113 yards and Anthony Carter caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. Washington rookie cornerback Tom Carter got beat on that play.

Minnesota coach Dennis Green said: "Cris Carter plays like an off guard in basketball. He makes a spin move and gets open."

Cris Carter gave the credit to Green. "He puts me in situations where I get a chance to succeed. He puts me in the slot where I can put a lot of pressure on people."

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