It's safe to say Rams legend Eric Dickerson is not a fan of Jeff Fisher
Dickerson fumed that Fisher apparently did not want the legendary running back near the team
Eric Dickerson is a Los Angeles Rams legend. Back in the 1980s, Dickerson spent the first four-plus seasons with the Rams, running for a ton of yards and setting several records. His 1,808 rushing yards in 1983 are a rookie record and his 2,105 rushing yards in his second season still stand as the all-time single-season record as well.
Jeff Fisher is not much of a Rams legend, but he is the team's current coach. He's a coach with a 31-43-1 record with the Rams, and a 4-7 record in L.A., but still, he is the coach. And apparently Dickerson is not too happy with that, mostly because Fisher tried to keep him away from the sideline for a recent game. (The Rams have denied this.)
Per the Los Angeles Times, here is how everything went down:
"I see a 314 number calling in. So I get on the phone and say hello. He says, 'Hey, Eric, this is Jeff Fisher.' I said, 'How you doing, Jeff?' He said, 'I just wanted to call you. I want to tell you a few things here. I don't have time for this, but I'm going to tell you. You're not going to be talking about the football team, talking about our team, talking about my coaches, expecting to get things from this football team. We're not going to give you anything. We're not going to support you in anything. As long as I'm here as coach, we feel uncomfortable with you coming on the sideline. The players are uncomfortable with that. So as long as I'm head coach here, I'm just going to let you know it's not going to happen.'
"So I didn't say one word. That's how I was taught. If somebody's talking, you listen. Because two people can't talk. So I sat there and listened to what he had to say. I said, 'Jeff, are you finished?' He said, 'I'm finished.'
"I said, 'Jeff, thank you for the call. I appreciate it. I heard somebody might call me. But, Jeff, I want to say this to you: I am a grown ... man. I am not a little kid. I do not work for the Los Angeles Rams.' I said, 'I don't give a damn what you think. My thing is, I want my football team to win. That's all I care about. I don't care whose feelings I hurt.' I said, 'Jeff, I'm all about the Los Angeles Rams. I want to win.' I said, 'You think I've been sitting around waiting for the Rams to come back? Jeff, anybody who knows me knows about Eric Dickerson. I don't have my hand out. If y'all feel like I owe you something, send me a bill in the mail. Send me something and I will pay it. I don't want nothing from you guys.' My mother taught me this: When you go to somebody's house, don't you go eating up everything. You come home and eat.
"I said, 'Jeff, and by the way, you can coach the Rams, you can go back to the Titans, you might coach the Browns, you can go to 'SC... I will always be Eric Dickerson of the Los Angeles Rams. That's why I have that gold jacket. I'm a player first, and I will always be a player. Always. I'm always for the players. Know that.'
"So he said, 'Eric, man, that's not what we want. We want you to come around. Jackie Slater comes over. Jack Youngblood.' Then he goes on and says, 'I want you to be around. I want you to be part of the team.' I didn't say nothing. I just listened. I said, 'Jeff, I'm going to say this much to you. It's my last thing. First of all, I like [former Titans running back] Eddie George. Eddie George speaks very highly of you. I give you a pass because of Eddie. But I'm going to say this to you, Jeff: You never ever have to worry about me at a game again at the Coliseum as long as you're coaching. I'm not coming ever again. I don't want nobody to feel uncomfortable. Most definitely I don't want the players to feel uncomfortable. I don't care about your coaches feeling uncomfortable. I'm all about the players. You never have to worry about ever seeing me again.'
"He said, 'Eric, that's not what we want.' I said, 'As long as you're coaching, you won't have to worry about ever seeing me again.' I said, 'Jeff, I want to thank you for having the [guts] to call me. ... You have a good night.' And that was it. That was two weeks ago Thursday, right before the Dolphins game. They haven't reached out to me until [Monday]."
Well, now. That does not sound like a conversation that went very well, or ended very well, or is likely to result in a detente anytime soon. Fisher, for his part, responded by saying (among other things):
"We want him to be a part of this organization. That's what we stand for. ... In no way shape or form do we want to eliminate him. We want to include him. If Eric took it as if we were eliminating him, it was a misunderstanding, just as Kevin (Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff) said in his tweets. We want Eric to be a part of it and we still want Eric to be part of it.
"I have engaged every single player to the best of my ability to be a part of this. If Eric has an issue with the organization, that's Eric's issue, not ours. We welcome him with open arms. Eric happens to be the only player that has gone on the record and been critical of what we're doing, but that's OK. He's entitled to his opinion. This is a new experience for us and this is a new Rams family and we want to include all the former Rams in our future."
It would be a shame if the Rams and Dickerson couldn't work things out but there seems to be a good deal of personal animosity here. It may take a change before fences can be mended. And maybe there will be one after all. Fisher was rumored to be on the verge of a contract extension earlier this season but a new deal never materialized. Considering he kept No. 1 pick Jared Goff on the bench for more than half the season while running Case Keenum out there week after week, and that he's not experienced much (any) success with the Rams, there is plenty of reason to move on beyond his alienation of a team legend.
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