Check out photos of Eric Dickerson signing a one-day deal at the Los Angeles Rams facility to retire as a Ram.
He's already a Pro Football Hall of Famer and record-setting NFL running back. But as of Tuesday, Eric Dickerson is officially a Ram once again.
"As an organization, it is rare that you get to sign a Hall of Famer to your roster," general manager Les Snead said. "And that's exactly what we did this morning."
Dickerson signed his one-day contract on Tuesday in order to continue his retirement as a member of the organization where he spent his first four seasons — and the that's always been his home.
"It's an honor for me to be sitting here. It's like getting drafted all over again," Dickerson said. "It was an honor to play for the Los Angeles Rams. We were truly a running football team. We ran the ball, we ran it well, and we had some great guys on this football team. I can say that I'm really happy for this moment because even when I left the Rams, I was always a Ram."
"I just want to say coach, thank you and Les, thank you very much for the opportunity to sign my one-day contract. I just want to know when I'm getting my signing bonus," he added with a laugh.
Dickerson was drafted by the Rams out of Southern Methodist University as the No. 2 overall pick in the 1983 draft. In his first year with the team, he broke the NFL rookie record for most yards gained in a season at 1,808. He then followed up a prolific rookie campaign by setting the NFL's single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards in 1984.
On Tuesday, Dickerson joined Snead and head coach Sean McVay to celebrate his return to the organization. In addition to signing his one day contract, Dickerson will also join the team in an executive role starting this season.
"We're going as an organization to hire Eric as our Vice President of Business Development," Snead said, "really with the main goal of doing what he did for me a long time ago — bridging fans to our organization and then not only making them fans of the Rams, but making a difference in their [lives]."
"My thing is I want to really get into the community. Even when the Rams weren't, I was the guy that went to the hospital, took stuff to the kids and tried to get them to know about football. Everyone doesn't love football, but when the Rams came back, it made it that much easier," Dickerson said of his new role. "I'll be at games. Stuff with the new stadium – trying to get people to come to our new stadium, sell the luxury suites. But the most important thing is putting a good product on the field."
Snead, who grew up in college-football-centric Alabama, shared a childhood memory of watching Dickerson in the 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic. The general manager said from that moment and through the 1983 draft, Dickerson was one of the players who truly converted him into a professional football enthusiast. As Snead put it, he "became an NFL fan in a college football country."
"What that did for me was turned me into a professional football fan," he said. "[But] more than that, for a guy who was raised with a single mom, it gave me a passion for football – something that I could really, really focus on and ended up making a career of."
Dickerson retired from the NFL almost 25 years ago, leaving the league as a member of the Falcons. And though he has always "had it in the back of his mind" to retire as a Ram, he felt doing it in Los Angeles, the city where he first played felt right.
Check out photos of Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson. Dickerson will be signing a one-day contract to officially retire as a Ram.
"Did I think this moment would come? No, I did not. I really didn't," Dickerson said. "I just felt like doing it here in Los Angeles was proper. Nothing against St. Louis. The Rams did great in St. Louis, but I never played [there]. Here I thought was the perfect spot, the perfect time."
"When [Rams C.O.O. Kevin Demoff] said, 'Yes,' he said, 'We'll make it happen,' I told him what date I wanted — because you know my number's 29. I want to do it on my number and I thought that was significant for me," Dickerson said. "Am I excited about it? Very. I'm humbled by it [and] I thank God for it."
In addition to his new role as the Vice President of Business Development, Dickerson will remain an NFL analyst on Fox Sports 1. When asked if he will continue to be one of the most vocal critics of this former team, Dickerson couldn't help but laugh, saying he has "never been a guy to pull back."
"Coach, I'm letting you know now, if you play well I'm going to say you're playing well. If you're not playing good, then you're going to hear it from me," he said. "I'm your biggest fan and your biggest critic, that is just me. I love this football team [and] I want my team to win just like I said last year."
"But most definitely, I don't want anyone to get it confused at all — I love my football team. I just want our team to be very successful — not just playing on the field, but also off the field — in the city, in the community, [for] people to get to know who the Los Angeles Rams really are. We've been gone for 22 years, we're back in L.A. and we want to make a statement like, 'Hey, we're back and we're going to let you know that we're back."