In the eyes of former quarterback Mark Rypien, when his name is added to the Washington Redskins’ Ring of Fame on Oct. 19 it will represent 52 other players who are equally deserving.
Rypien came close to naming them all during the team’s annual Welcome Home Luncheon and in talking to reporters following the announcement that he’ll become the 46th member of the Ring of Fame.
Rypien was full of humility in recalling his eight seasons in Washington, the punishing workouts under Coach Joe Gibbs, the camaraderie among the players and the milestones they achieved together, particularly the magical 1991 season that ended with a 37-24 victory over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI.
They remain in his thoughts—burly linemen like Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Mark Schlereth; playmakers like Gary Clark and Art Monk; and more.
“There are 52 guys when they hoist that thing up there who will go up there with me,” Rypien told reporters. “And about 55,364 Redskins fans that rocked the stadium when we played are as deserving as what we did on the field.”
In speaking to the audience at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center at National Harbor, Rypien, 52, choked up in expressing his gratitude over being honored for the part he played, explaining that the luncheon coincided with the 16th anniversary of the death of his son, then three years old, from a brain tumor.
“A difficult day for me,” Rypien said. “I look on this as such an honor. And obviously for me, it’s a great day to pick my spirits up, too, with the day that it is. I am very humbled.”
Rypien was sacked just nine times during the 1991 season. Now, nearly 23 years later, he laughed at the all-out battering he took on the first three plays against Buffalo in that Super Bowl.
“I got smoked on two of the first three plays,” said Rypien. In fact, he cracked a rib on one of those plays but kept going.
“I came to the sideline and said, ‘What the heck is going on?’” Rypien recalled. “Bostic goes, ‘Don’t worry! Don’t worry. We’ll wear ‘em down. They’ve got adrenaline, too.’
“Sure enough, his vote of confidence helped me.”
Rypien completed 18 of 33 throws for 292 yards and two touchdowns, earning MVP honors.
But his takeaway that day was the same as it was Wednesday.
Said Rypien: “One person isn’t going to carry a team.”