Shanahan: Franchise QB top priority in offseason
Manning, Rams deal explained
PALM BEACH, FLA. | Mike Shanahan made it his mission this winter to find the Washington Redskins a franchise quarterback. After two straight lastplace finishes and way more turnovers last season than he cares to remember, it became the coach’s top priority.
The quest has taken him all over the country. It’s not over yet, but Shanahan at least knows he’ll draft his man April 26. The thought of selecting either Baylor’s Robert Griffin III or Stanford’s Andrew Luck had Shanahan beaming during the coaches’ breakfast at the NFL’S annual meetings Wednesday.
“It’s the difference in your organization, winning and losing,” he said. “It’s big.”
In his first public comments since trading three first-round draft picks and this year’s secondrounder to the St. Louis Rams to move up in the draft, Shanahan expressed confidence in both prospects and explained how he continued to pursue free agent Peyton Manning after the trade.
“When I think back about when the Broncos got John Elway, I don’t think anybody looks back and says, ‘ Hey, did we overpay?’ “Shanahan said. “To get a guy like that doesn’t happen very often. So to get a guy that you feel is a franchise quarterback, I think you’ve really upped your organization over
“I was kind of a brainiac when it came to the game,” Rypien said. “The X’s and O’s came easily to me. I really have to struggle now. . . . It seems like I’m learning the game again which once came so easily.”
During a 25-minute conversation Wednesday, Rypien paused in midsentence trying to recall the year he absorbed a dizzying hit against the Minnesota Vikings. He remembered other details from the game, which was played in October 1992. But the year was like a black hole.
Adding to Rypien’s concern was last year’s suicide of Rick Rypien, his cousin who suffered concussions as an NHL enforcer.
So, Rypien filled out a survey on head injuries from the NFL Alumni Association two weeks ago and was connected with Craig Mitnick, co-counsel with Gene Locks in the suit.
Rypien still loves football. He would still play again knowing the risks. But he wished the NFL was more forthcoming about the long-term consequences of head injuries. He wants the game to be safer, where health matters more than wins.
“We need to take care of our people,” Rypien said, “not look after how much money we’re going to make based on putting people out there in very precarious, scary positions and really engaging them in a life-threatening practice.”
Fourteen other ex-redskins also are part of the lawsuit, one of dozens filed against the NFL over head injuries. Mitnick’s group represents more than 550 ex-players who have sued the NFL.
“We probably put up a good front,” Rypien said. “We want to make it look like things are OK. But each one of those individuals, like myself, has got issues going on and things that are alarming.
“I worry about 10 years from now.”