Murky mental future worries Rypien
Ex-redskins quarterback estimates four or five concussions in 11-year career
Three weeks ago, Mark Rypien admitted something was wrong.
At a fundraising dinner for his charitable foundation, Rypien’s college roommate from Washington State University, John Marshall, recalled when Rypien summoned a medevac helicopter after another ex-roommate, Jeff Loomis, suffered a minor stroke. The call saved Loomis’ life.
Rypien had no memory of the incident.
The daily memory lapses Rypien, 49, attributed to advancing age suddenly looked different. So did the four or five concussions the ex-washington Redskins quarterback was diagnosed with during his 11-year NFL career.
That’s how Rypien became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Friday by 126 ex-players against the NFL over head injuries.
“It got to a point where it made me concerned, and now I’m thinking, ‘Gosh, what do the next 10 years look like?’ “Rypien said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Then you become a little bit scared.”
In addition to the four or five concussions he was diagnosed with during his career, Rypien estimated 15 to 20 other times he was “not in my right state” after hits.
Simple tasks, like carrying on conversations with family members, slowly became more difficult.
“They’re looking out of the corner of their eye like, ‘You didn’t remember what you just got done saying?’ “Rypien said. “You’re forgetting things from yesterday and from your past.”
Even studying football when he volunteers with Shadle Park High’s team in Spokane, Wash., isn’t the same for the man who was Super Bowl XXVI’S most valuable player. The changes alarmed him.
the long term.”
Shanahan praised Griffin’s and Luck’s mental makeup and physical abilities after meeting with them last week during their respective on-campus pro days. He would not say whether he values one over the other or who he expects the Indianapolis Colts to draft first.
“When you make a move to the second pick of the draft, you’ve got to feel very comfortable with both guys,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of different things. Whatever happens, happens, but you’ve got to feel great about both.”
The Rams asked the Redskins and other teams to make their best offer for the No. 2 overall pick, Shanahan said. Cleveland media have reported the Redskins outbid the Browns.
After watching video of every collegiate play Luck and Griffin have participated in, Shanahan decided acquiring either of them was worth the cost.
“To get that franchise quarterback is pretty tough,” he said. “They just don’t fall off the trees. If you can get a guy that you feel is a franchise quarterback, then you’ve got to make decisions in the best interest of your organization, and we felt it was.”
Shanahan wanted more than just one rookie, though. He confirmed a Sports Illustrated report that he and Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator and his son, flew to Denver after the trade and met with Manning at the family’s expansive home there.
They watched film for five hours and discussed personnel, Mike Shanahan said. He believes they were legitimate contenders for Manning’s services because their meeting was so long. Manning ultimately signed with the Denver Broncos last week.
“I can say that we had a great conversation,” Shanahan said. “I know he gave it a lot of thought.”
Now Shanahan’s focus is to surround the rookie quarterback with quality players. He expressed measured expectations for what a rookie might accomplish in his first season, but he expects greatness over the long term.
“If you want to win the Super Bowl, you’ve got to have that guy that gives you a chance to win year in and year out,” he said. “You’ve got to give them the right supporting cast . . . but once you have that guy, it picks up everybody on your football team.”
Mike Shanahan will coach a touted rookie quarterback — most likely Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III — as a result of the Redskins trading up with St. Louis for the second overall pick.