When the Rams reached an agreement Friday with Eric Dickerson’s advisers calling for him to report to the team, owner Georgia Frontiere had one last stipulation: Dickerson had to be on the team plane that afternoon.
That meant that Dickerson, already in his car, had to leave for Philadelphia with only the clothes he was wearing, the final inconvenience of his 46-day holdout.
Even if scheduled negotiations fall apart next week, Dickerson said, “I won’t leave again, no matter what. I owe my teammates that much.”
Dickerson won’t play against the Eagles today, but he will start his third season two games late against the Seahawks at Seattle on Monday night, Sept. 23.
“I’m in good condition,” he said Saturday as his teammates held a light workout in Veterans Stadium. “I think I’ll be ready. I’ll be somethin’ to reckon with. I won’t be a slouch. I wish I could play tomorrow.”
If he had not come to Philadelphia, Dickerson said he would have been in Sealy, Tex., celebrating his aunt Viola’s 81st birthday, going quail hunting with his stepfather and trying to avoid people.
“If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me what I was going to do, I could quit playing football right now,” he said.
He teased reporters: “A lot of times, you all were talking to me (on the phone to Sealy) but you all didn’t know it. I’d say, ‘This is his brother, Robert. Eric’s not here. Eric’s in Houston. Eric’s in Atlanta.’
“That’s how smart you were. You been around me for two years and still don’t know my voice.”
Dickerson won’t know how the fans feel about him until the Rams play Atlanta at Anaheim Sept. 29.
“They can scream or they can boo,” he said. “You hope they react good. No one likes a negative reaction.
“Everybody said I was begging for money. But I don’t have any more money. They said I went in and asked for $2 million. I would never ask for $2 million. (But) if they’d give it, I would gladly take it.
“When I played the Green Bay game my first year (1983), I fumbled the ball, and the reaction was real negative. ‘Why’d they draft this guy?’ I had a letter, ‘You lost the football game.’
“Then, the next week, I rushed for 192 yards, and it was, ‘Oh, he’s great.’
“This was business, and business gets dirty sometimes. Right now, we’re talking about having a party. A welcome-back party. I said, ‘Yeah, let’s go for it.’ ”
But today, Dickerson, who played at Southern Methodist University, will have to watch former USC players Charles White and Lynn Cain, and perhaps A. J. Jones from Texas, run with the ball.
“All those Trojans,” he said. “But the Mustang stands alone.”