The Indianapolis Colts placed Eric Dickerson on a reserve list Wednesday that will cause him to miss the first six weeks of the season and lose nearly $600,000.
Jim Irsay, Colts’ general manager, also suspended the running back for four weeks of that period and fined him an additional week’s pay. That will cost him seven of the season’s 17 pay weeks based on his $1.45 million salary.
Irsay said the penalties were for conduct detrimental to the team, which would include Dickerson’s refusal Wednesday to take the team’s required physical exam.
Dickerson, who has remained out of training camp while recovering from an off-season injury to his left hamstring, could begin practicing with the team after four weeks.
But he must sit out at least six regular-season games because he was placed on the non-football-related injury list, which requires a player miss six weeks and forfeit his pay for the period.
Coach Ron Meyer said the Colts are “prepared to go ahead and play the entire season, if we have to, without Eric Dickerson.”
Dickerson met Wednesday morning with Irsay. He did not provide a reason for refusing to take the physical and was told he would be suspended.
Irsay said Dickerson told him he was going back to his home in California.
“We feel our position is very well documented,” Irsay said. “It’s taken a great deal of thought. There were five scheduled physicals missed. We’ve done everything we could to get him to take a physical. Nothing has worked.”
But he added that suspending and putting Dickerson on the non-football injury list does not mark the end of Dickerson’s career with the Colts.
“It’s hard to say what our decision will be six or seven weeks from now,” he said. “If the situation is where he does come back in 1991 and is healthy, we’ll have to address it then.”
Meyer, who coached Dickerson at Southern Methodist, said, “Personally, I love the guy. He was supportive of me when I was down, and I’m supportive of him. However, business decisions have to be made and I concur with the decision of the Colts.”
Dickerson’s relationship with the Colts started to sour last season after Meyer told him to stifle his criticism of the team’s offensive line, which Dickerson said had not protected him.