Rypien starts shopping with Lions

April 19, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

Quarterback Mark Rypien, who was released by the Washington Redskins last week after he declined to take a $2 million pay cut, started looking for a new team yesterday when he visited the Detroit Lions.

In Detroit, Rypien would be a backup to Scott Mitchell and likely would be paid $1 million, the offer he turned down from the Redskins, but he's eager for a fresh start.

"I had eight great years in Washington," Rypien said. "I'll always have great memories. It's also time to move on.

"The one thing about the Lions that intrigues me is that there are only a handful of teams that have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, possibly advancing to the championship game and winning the Super Bowl. This organization is one of them," he added.

"It's a possibility of playing if things don't go well [for Mitchell]."

Rypien also has a visit scheduled in Cleveland next week and is considering Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Chicago, but he conceded there aren't any starting jobs available.

Meanwhile, John Friesz, who lost the starting job in San Diego to former Washington quarterback Stan Humphries, will attempt to win the Redskins job.

Friesz signed a one-year deal for $900,000, including a $200,000 signing bonus, and will battle the rookie quarterback the Redskins draft next week -- probably Heath Shuler of Tennessee -- for the starting job this fall.

Friesz said the opportunity to start is important to him.

"I think the Redskins offer a situation where I'll be able to go in and have an opportunity to start," he said. "I'm at a crossroads in my career where it's important to continue to be thought of as a starter and not be labeled as a backup."

Though the rookie will be the team's quarterback of the future, Friesz hopes to start early in the season when the rookie is learning and play well enough to get an offer from another team next year.

A sixth-round pick by the Chargers in 1990, Friesz played in 12 games last season and started six when Humphries was injured.

Friesz is the seventh free agent the Redskins have signed this year.

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