A day after his contract dispute became public, Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien visited briefly with General Manager Charley Casserly yesterday morning.
Neither side would reveal the nature of the conversation and Rypien indicated he would make no more statements about his contract.
It was reported that Rypien and the Redskins were far apart in their negotiations on a new deal, and that the quarterback planned to play out his option and become a free agent after this season (the Redskins can match any offer to him, and Rypien has said he would like to stay with the team).
Rypien will be the NFL's lowest-paid starting quarterback this season, with a base salary of $275,000. A package of incentives could bring him to around $600,000, but that is still only about half the NFL average.
The Redskins have offered to tear up the contract and write a new one. The argument is over how much he should get. The Redskins have offered $2.4 million over three years, with another $600,000 in reachable incentives. Rypien wants a two-year, $3 million deal.
Negotiations between agent Ken Staninger and Casserly broke off on Wednesday, and both sides said there was nothing else to negotiate.
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs shrugged off the matter, saying he did not believe it would be a distraction or put any additional pressure on Rypien.
"It's a fact of life in the NFL," Gibbs said. "It goes on all the time. It won't affect any of our other guys one iota."
Gibbs spoke to Rypien about the matter "several weeks ago" and said: "He's taking a good approach. He's letting someone else handle that. He knows the amount of money he gets will be determined by how he plays. One thing about the NFL, the better you are on the field, the better you're rewarded."
Staninger said he had not spoken to Casserly yesterday. He said he was ready to resume negotiations, but that the next move was up to the general manager.
"We really have nothing more to talk about," Staninger said. "We'll roll the dice. They'll roll the dice." Elewonibi: Learning Period
Mo Elewonibi seems resigned to spending a season on injured reserve, saying yesterday his left shoulder is "somewhat sore" and that it is only about 80 percent as strong as the right one.
When the Redskins made Elewonibi their second choice in last spring's draft, they warned that he might be a year or two away, since he did not play football until enrolling in junior college and had undergone surgery several times on his left shoulder.
All of that speculation has come true. Elewonibi is big, strong and fast, but he does not have great technique or blocking skills. The Redskins also have a numbers crunch on the offensive line and Elewonibi's shoulder has given them an option.
"I've gained so much strength in my shoulder, but there's still work to do," Elewonibi said. "It's not that we didn't lift weights in college, it's just that between operations I never had enough time to lift. I can take this year to work and learn the offense. I know I can play in this league, but there's still so much I need to work on." . . .
The Redskins will be without only two players tonight, defensive end Fred Stokes and safety Clarence Vaughn.
The Rams have a long injury list, including linebacker Mel Owens, wide receiver Aaron Cox, H-back Jim Price, wide receiver Tony Lomack, guard Joe Milinichik, cornerback Darryl Henley, tackle Robert Cox, wide receiver Henry Ellard and linebacker Fred Strickland. Their four holdouts are linebacker Kevin Greene, tight end Damone Johnson, defensive end Doug Reed and safety Michael Stewart.