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Rypien: Cooke makes the quarterback call


IRVING, Texas -- "It was a utopia I was in," quarterback Mark Rypien said to describe his first seven years with the Washington Redskins.

"The whole organization has treated me with class over the years," he said.

It all changed this year.

"I don't want to bite my neck off and say something," he added.

Besides saying that he knows he's gone, he said enough to show how unhappy he's been this year.

"You sacrifice your career and everything else and you think things are going to be taken care of," he said in reference to the fact he came back early from a knee injury and then fell out of favor when he performed poorly while playing hurt.

Rypien said he didn't even think it mattered how he played the past few games. He thinks the decision to send him packing was made earlier.

"I'd like to have finished a little better," he said after his poor showing in the Redskins' 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. "I don't think the finish had anything to do [with it]. I think their mind was intact."

He also suggested that owner Jack Kent Cooke was making personnel decisions.

"I think it's from the top. It's saying, 'Hey, I want so-and-so to play. So-and-so can do this.' I think someone is being told this is the way you want to go. You kind of shake your head. You've got to understand it might not be [a coach's] decision. It might be someone telling someone," he said.

When Cooke's name was brought up, he wouldn't criticize him directly.

"Mr. Cooke's been very fair with me. I struggled last year and I struggled again this year. That probably has a lot to do with it," he said.

When Rypien was asked whether he is still one of the 28 best quarterbacks in the league, he said, "The way I've played these last few weeks, I don't think I'd be put in that category."

But he thinks things will be better next year after he has arthroscopic surgery on his knee.

"I obviously feel I have a lot of football ahead," said Rypien, 31. "I'd like to say when I'm healthy, I can perform. I'm not a guy who looks fora lot of alibis."

Back on top

Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith took over the rushing lead from Jerome Bettis of the Los Angeles Rams -- 1,318 to 1,283 -- with his 153-yard effort, even though he didn't play the fourth quarter. Smith, who missed the first two games in a contract dispute, is attempting to become the fourth player to win three straight rushing titles. Steve Van Buren, Jim Brown and Earl Campbell were the first three.

"The O-line did a great job again," he said. "I wanted to go back in there and get some more yards, but K. W. ruined that for me," he said.

He was referring to Kevin Williams' punt return that made it 35-3 after three quarters. Coach Jimmy Johnson then held him out of the fourth quarter.

A nose for the ball


Wide receiver Michael Irvin had the flu and his nose was broken, but he caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown against Darrell Green.

Irvin said he told Green, "I'm going to get this [nose] fixed and I'll be right back."

Flag waving

The Redskins weren't happy about some of the defensive penalties that gave the Cowboys eight first downs.

Coach Richie Petitbon said, "Let's not get into the officiating."

When he was told some flags were dropped after the plays ended, he said, "Good observation."

Change of mind ahead?

Defensive lineman Jason Buck, who said he paid his union dues, predicted the 37 players who have refused to pay will change their minds if an arbitrator rules they must pay or be suspended for the final game.

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