|Biography of Grieb||
December 13, 2003
Just to step back from all of this holiday "hoopla" for a minute, I thought I'd tell an interesting story from my time with the Eagles. I figure you guys could use a humorous break.
It was mid-season, 1996. The Eagles had just played a tough Monday night game against the hated Dallas Cowboys. Worst of all, the Eagles lost their starting quarterback for the season. Now, the quarterback was only Rodney Peete, so it wasn't anything that would put a crack in the foundation of the Eagles' franchise, but, nevertheless, they had a problem. The Birds needed to bring in a backup quarterback with NFL experience, and their choice for this was none other than Mark Rypien.
If you don't know who Mark Rypien is/was, I'll give you a little background on him. Rypien is best known for his time as the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins. He not only helped them win a Super Bowl, but he was also the MVP of the league one year - so this guy had experience to say the least. Of course, by the time he got to the Eagles, his career was just about over.
Anyway, Mark was brought in for the press conference, and I was instructed to "keep him company" for a few minutes prior to the press conference. So, I sat down with Mark, and chatted with him for a little while (at the time, it was no big deal to me, because I had been around enough football players and stars, that I wasn't nervous at all talking to him).
We were having an auction for the Philadelphia Eagles charity, and we had gotten an autographed hockey stick of the Buffalo Sabres. Rypien picked the stick up and started fooling around with it. I figured I'd ask him if he was a hockey fan, and he responded with a definite yes. He said that if he wasn't so good at football, he probably would've tried to give hockey a whirl. At 6 feet, 7 inches, weighing in at over 250 pounds, Rypien would've been quite a presence on the ice.
I mentioned to Mark that we had a dek hockey team, and we played hockey a couple of times a week. After I mentioned this, Mark's eye's lit up. Then, to my complete astonishment, Mark asked if we had any room left on my hockey team (as if I really was going to say, "Sorry Mark, we have no room for a man of your size and history - we made a pact never to let any NFL MVP'ers on our team."). Of course, I had to play it down, but I said, I thought that we could accommodate him. Mark said that he would have to ask Ray (Coach Rhodes) if it was OK to play dek hockey, but he would get back to me.
Man, I couldn't wait to tell my friends about this one. I figured I wouldn't hear from Mark again about this, but just the fact that he even asked if he could play for our team was enough for me. I called Mark McCandless up (he was the captain of our team at the time), and asked if we had room on our team. He replied, "No, we're pretty full, why?" I told him that Mark Rypien wanted to be on our team, and his response was, "Uh, yeah, we have some room."
Mark Rypien came up to me a few days later. His head was hung a little, and he told me that Ray wouldn't let him play, but he wanted to thank me for the opportunity. I knew for sure that Rhodes wouldn't let Mark play mainly because of the potential for injury. But how funny would it have been if we showed up one day on the dek with Mark Rypien on our team. The other team probably would shit, and then let us win (they'd have no choice). The funnier part would be the face on Jimmy's face at the Toll House after we brought Mark back after one of the games.
Observation 3.1.19 - Holiday Stuff - 12/03/03