Eric Dickerson on which RB could 'someday' break his record

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Eric Dickerson

Running back, retired

Born: Sept. 2, 1960

Experience: 11 NFL seasons (1983-1993)

Interview by Meghan Payton | July 13, 2018

I respect T.O.'s decision. I do. I mean, he is a grown man. I talked to him about it. I said, "T.O., first of all, let me ask you a question. If you had gotten inducted [as a] first-ballot would you have went?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "What's the difference?" Because now he is letting them win. Because they are saying, "see I knew it." But it is not fair because T.O. should have [already] been in the Hall of Fame. He should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It goes to show you how biased it is.

When I went in [the Hall], there was a reporter, I won't say from where, but he told me, "You were going to be a unanimous decision, but one guy wouldn't vote for you. He wouldn't vote because you held out." Now you tell me, what does holding out and playing football have to do with anything? It doesn't. That's the problem that you have with that system. You get these sports writers that don't like you.

I get so sick of people saying that T.O. isn't liked. "Nobody liked him." He was well-liked by his teammates. I told him, I said I went through the same thing because I was not a kiss ass. It was different back then. I was standing up to the establishment. I wanted to get paid. I was making $150,000 [per year as a] first-round draft pick, second [overall]. That's frustrating.

I just feel like [T.O.] is missing a lot. I really do. I wish he would go [to Canton]. He's not going to go. I told him, "Think when you are an older guy, maybe 70 years old. I might not even be here. I bet one day you will sit down and say, 'Man I wish I would have went.' " But you can't do it over. You can't do it again. That's it.

[Sean McVay] is not afraid to let his coaches coach. He is not afraid to hire a guy that is the best at his position. I think what really impressed me last year was [the game] against the Cowboys. McVay was back away from the sidelines sitting on the water cooler talking to the offense. Head coaches, they want to be there like, "I'm stoic. I'm doing everything." I talk to him about it. He said, "I don't even worry about it. Wade Phillips does that. He's handling the defense. That is his job. I have faith in him."

When you see a coach like that, that is in a sense kind of refreshing. Coaches are control freaks. Most head coaches are. They want to get the credit for everything except for losing. Also, being able to connect with his players at a young age. I think people talk about him being (young). I'm like, I don't care if he is 15; if we are winning games, who cares? It showed last year. When they started winning games, you didn't hear his age anymore. All you hear is, "He is a young coach and he has young ideas." He's got great ideas.

I just think that he is a football-minded guy. Really, truly is. I went out to camp [in June], just sitting in the meetings, listening. He has those guys on it. You have to know your assignment. The running back needs to know what the tackle is doing. The tackle knows what the running back is doing. That was not like that when I played. You knew what you had to do, but you didn't know what every other guy's assignment was. That is something that I am sure has been around the last 20 years since I retired. It is just good to see that we are doing it because two years ago our offense was terrible.

The good thing is that [Todd Gurley] has Sean McVay. He has an offensive-minded coach, a young quarterback; they can grow together. They have a veteran offensive line, which in the sense is good and bad. You want your line to come up with you. You have some guys in that lineup that are a lot older. That is one of the weak points.

As far as Todd, man he ran the ball well last year. He blocked well. He came out of the backfield well. He did everything good. It's hard to repeat. He was going up for MVP and to me should have been MVP. People are going to say [I think that] because I played for the Rams, but that is not true. His value to that football team [is so high].

If you took [Gurley] away from the Rams [it's] just like if you took Tom Brady away from the Patriots, but you never know with that because Bill Belichick still wins. If you took Todd Gurley away from the Rams, those 11 games they win may go to six.

[Ezekiel Elliott] could possibly [break my single-season rushing record], but like I said, I don't see it right now. When I see that guy, you'll know. A lot of guys like Todd, he is special. He really is. Le'Veon [Bell], he is special. Zeke, he is special. Those are special players, but I just don't see that 2,100-yard guy yet. I could be wrong.

When Adrian Peterson came out of college, when I saw him I said, "Now this guy has a chance to beat that record." I said it right away. He got 2,000 yards. He didn't break it, which I am glad of, but he got 2,000 yards. That record is just hard because everything has to go right. It really does.

As a rookie, [when an organization] talks about building the offense around you, that is scary. It really is. I didn't even know they were planning on doing it. It just kind of happened.

Without [injury], [Saquon Barkley] could have a good season. He could have a great year. He has all of the talent. You can have talent, but in this league you have to have weapons. You can't do it by yourself. I don't care how big or how fast you are. If you don't have the tools around you, it is not going to happen. Especially for a young guy.

I think it is good to get to know some of [the Rams' rookies]. I told them just that. "Some of you guys won't make this team. You might not ever play again." I think it is a good way to have myself and some of the older guys meet some of the younger players. Last year or two years ago we [also hosted the Rams' rookies for a get-together]. For the young players to meet me, kind of the face of the Rams, I enjoy it.

I just tell [the rookies] a little bit about the game. You have to be accountable, especially in today's age with social media, cellphones, sports around the clock. ... It's that no one is perfect, but all those people expect you to be perfect. I tell them that. That you are not, but know that you have a job to do.

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