Our writer, Zach Sears, had the pleasure to interview great running back Eric Dickerson. The Rams selected the SMU running back second overall in the 1983 NFL draft, where he dominated right away. He ran for 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns, winning rookie of the year honors. His next year was another all-pro campaign, with 14 rushing touchdowns and 2,244 yards from scrimmage, the most in his career. That year, 1984, he set the NFL record for rushing yards in a season with 2,105, which still stands today.
Due to contract disputes, the Rams traded Dickerson to the Colts in 1987. In 1988, He became the first Colt to lead the NFL in rushing yards since 1955. In 1989, be became the fastest running back to reach 10,000 yards in NFL history, needing only 91 games. Dickerson had lackluster seasons in with the Raiders and Falcons and retired with the Rams in 2017. He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players to step on a football field. Now, onto the interview.
What was one of your favorite defensive units to play against and who would you say you had a rivalry with when going up against a team?
Eric Dickerson: “One of my favorite defenses was probably the St. Louis Cardinals because every time I played against them I knew I’d have a good game. They were easy to run against and I’d just play very well every time we played. The rivalry would probably be the San Francisco 49ers.”
Who would you say was the most fun to play with or against and who did you have the best chemistry with while on the Rams and the Colts or even the Raiders or Falcons?
Eric Dickerson: “I liked all the guys. I was very close to David Hill the tight end, Jackie Slater, Leroy Irvin. With the Colts I’d say Fredd Young and Barry Krause both guys played linebacker.
What is it like having a legacy in the NFL knowing that you were able to contribute so much to your teams, win the OROTY (offensive rookie of the year) award after your rookie season and then later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Eric Dickerson: “I played hard, I loved playing football, it’s something I loved doing. I didn’t play it for the accolades I played because I love doing it. My favorite was my 2,000 rushing yard season, O.J. Simpson was my favorite player and I wanted to break his record. Getting inducted into the hall of fame is a great honor, it solidifies your career in the NFL. Those were by far my highlights in my career.”
Can you describe what went through your head when you were told that you were traded to the Colts and that you would be working with a rookie QB and a veteran offensive line?
Eric Dickerson: “Disappointment, I wanted to stay with the Rams my whole career but back in those days it was different, it was a different game than it is now but that was business so I had to move on. Playing with Jeff George was great, I feel like Jeff never got the unit he needed to become the player he could have become and it wasn’t his fault, he was a great teammate, great guy, the press made him seem like a bad teammate and a bad guy but he was a great teammate.
What would you say is the thing you miss the most about not being able to go out onto the field and play?
Eric Dickerson: “The comradery, the players, one thing when you’re playing a sport like football is your like a family, it shows in the locker room, the travel. The games too, when you win, winning is fun especially when it’s a tough game. Along with the paychecks.
You played 11 years total, what year would you say you’re the proudest of and helped your legacy in the NFL?
Eric Dickerson: “I think a lot of people would say my season I had 2,000 yards but I think it’s my rookie season. As a rookie, I was able to complete the job and do what they wanted me to do with 1,800 yards rushing (1,808 exactly) 20 touchdowns that year, was rookie of the year. For a young kid from a small city in Texas with 2,000 people that was a big accomplishment for me, I think it just set the tone and set the stage for my career.”
It is an honor and a pleasure to have one of the all-time greats featured on Full Press Coverage.