Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NFL great Mark Rypien is still ‘the one'

When it comes to American Century Championship all-stars, Mark Rypien is still the first, in more ways than one. Not only is the former pro football star the first Canadian-born player to start in the NFL, he is also the first Canadian-born player to receive the Super Bowl MVP in the Redskins' Super Bowl XXVI victory.

Oh yeah, the two-time NFL Pro Bowl quarterback from Calgary, Alberta was also the very first winner of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in 1990. He plans to return again this year. All bets are on that he aims for that 1990 repeat performance.

Rypien’s persistence, accuracy and long shots were not only his attributes as a quarterback (he was best known for his accuracy as a deep passer and developing an incredible sense of timing with receivers downfield) but also on the golf course, with the inaugural ACC win and total of six top 10 finishes at Edgewood Tahoe.

His football status forever remains outstanding. In his 11 NFL seasons, six spent with the Washington Redskins (1988 to 1993) Rypien completed 1,466 of 2,613 passes for 18,473 yards and 115 touchdowns, with 88 interceptions. He rushed 127 times for 166 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Rypien's best season was in 1991 where he threw for 3,564 yards and 28 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, leading the Redskins to Super Bowl XXVI after recording a 14-2 regular season record. He was named the MVP of the game, passing for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns and guiding his team to a 37-24 win over the Buffalo Bills.

After leaving the Redskins he went on to become a backup, serving with the Cleveland Browns in 1994, the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and 1997 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996.

He signed with the Atlanta Falcons for the 1998 season but did not play. His three-year-old son, Andrew, died from a malignant brain tumor that year and caused Rypien to leave the game (although he would return in 2001 for a stint with the Colts).

Because of the tragedy, the Rypien Foundation was created with a commitment to provide hope and help for families battling childhood cancer. Mark and his family experienced firsthand what families go through when fighting this potentially deadly disease and recognized the value that quality care can bring to both patient and family.

In addition to the foundation, family and business interests, Rypien also managed a brief stint in NASCAR racing as a team owner and was the original owner of the 2004 Sprint Cup championship-winning #97 team.

Swinging clubs, however, has become his passion. An avid golfer, Rypien participates in charity tournaments at various locations across. He has played in one PGA Tour event (1992 Kemper Open) and one Nationwide Tour event (2000 Tri-Cities Open).

During the AmericanCentury Championship, Rypien draws the crowds and the long fairway shots to the green. He's earned standout-favorite status and is always in contention. Rypien will again compete this year at the 24th annual tournament at Edgewood Tahoe, July 16-21, 2013. Final weekend coverage is aired live nationally on NBC Sports and NBC.

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