Rams General Manager Les Snead, Head Coach Sean McVay, RB Eric Dickerson** Eric Dickerson Retirement Press Conference – August 29, 2017
McVay: "Starting off, today was a good day for us where we were able to get some good work, competitive work against each other. We really ramped it up a little bit for the guys that we know aren't going to play in the game on Thursday, and then we got a little bit of work for those guys that will work against Green Bay. Tomorrow we'll get a walk-thru and give those guys an opportunity to really be able to evaluate a lot of the guys that maybe we aren't projecting as starters and kind of shape up the bottom of this roster. I think today is a special day for this organization to honor a great player, a great person and somebody who has done a lot of special things, meant a lot to the organization and this league as a whole. With that, I'll pass it to (General Manager) Les (Snead).
Snead: "As an organization, it is rare that you get to sign a Hall of Famer to your roster and that's exactly what we did this morning. Now, the only thing we have to figure out is, can we get him a few reps and maybe spell (RB) Todd (Gurley) a little bit. Now, obviously when you sign a Hall of Famer it probably means that they're in the twilight of their career, so probably couldn't give us too many reps. Maybe, (Head Coach) Sean (McVay), if we get (RB) Eric (Dickerson) and maybe a few of his OL (offensive line) buddies, bring them back in a goal line package or short yardage."
McVay: "It looks like he's got some carries left in him."
Dickerson: "Uh, no (laughs)."
Snead: "If you've followed the Rams and followed me since I've gotten the job as GM – I think I've told this story many times and don't want to tell it today. But, obviously when I'm in middle school, I'll elaborate in a little bit and it shows you a little bit about what football and why football is family, why it's significant and why it's more than wins and losses. But, I'm in middle school in Alabama. Down in Alabama there's no professional football teams, it's college football. I remember it's a cold, cold day right around January 1st, laying on the coach and came to watch this Cotton Bowl with two future Hall of Famers – one being (Dolphins Hall of Fame QB) Dan Marino and I hate to say it, but I turned on the television to watch Dan Marino and this pony express and (Dickerson) and his facemask and I kind of became and Eric Dickerson fan. What that did for me was turned me into a professional football fan. That's where the whole story of me skipping school to watch the draft. Eric's first draft, Dan's draft was the first time I skipped school to watch that draft and I became an NFL fan in a college football country. 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 this thing. When it goes full circle and before I introduce Eric, it's an honor with the gold jacket (Hall of Fame jacket) and all and what football means, but we're going as an organization to hire Eric as our Vice President of Business Development. 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 life. With that being said – Eric Dickerson."
Dickerson: "Thank you, Les. Thank you, coach. First of all, it's an honor for me to be sitting here. It's like getting drafted all over again. I see my friend Jim Hill, when I got drafted he was there. To be back, truly a Los Angeles Ram. I played for the Los Angeles Rams for four years and it seemed like I played longer because I always ask people, how long do you think I played for the Rams? Ten years? No. Eight years? No. Twelve? No. Four. And I just feel like God gave me such a gift and I thank him for this opportunity. To the things that I was able to do on the football field through the guys that played with me – my friend (Former Rams TE) David Hill right here who was my tight end. Laying down the blocks – (Former Rams OL) Dennis Harrah, (Former Rams G) Bill Bain, (Former Rams T) Jackie Slater, (Former Rams G) Tom Newberry – all those guys – (Former Rams TE) James McDonald. Dennis Harrah, I know Dennis would like to be here with his big head (laughs). Those guys and (Former Rams Head) Coach (John) Robinson who put in the running game for me and made me that guy. It was an honor to play for the Los Angeles Rams. We were truly a running football team. When we came to town, people knew what we were going to do, there was nothing fancy about it. 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 was always a Los Angeles Ram. I never wanted to leave this football team when I got traded and in my heart I think that – my heart was broken, just like a lot of the fans hearts were broken that day. As a player and as a man, as a young man back in your 20s, 26 or 27 years old – you don't want to show any emotions. You are like, 'Hey, that's part of the business.' But really, I can honestly say sitting here at 56 years old, that my heart was broken when I left the Rams because I played hard for them and I still pull for the Rams. Even when I came back into the Ram family, years after I retired, I still pull for my football team. Just like last year, it was a rough year for the team, but no matter what, I still pull for the team. I love the football team. It's just like whatever college you play for, you love that college and somebody else may not like it, but you like your college. 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."
McVay: "It's all incentives. You've got to get some yards for that bonus."
Dickerson: "See, coach still knows how to put it down. You're right. I just want to say, man I'm really pleased. It's a proud moment for me to be back as a Ram – not as a player anymore, but just to be with the organization. With an organization that I have a lot of passion for and I'll always be passionate about it. So saying that, I think I said everything I wanted to say. If you want to ask me some questions."
(On how emotional it was for him to be able to retire with the Rams and become an executive with the team)
Dickerson: "That's a great question. As a matter of fact, I want to make sure, I said, 'Man, I don't want to get up here and cry. I didn't even cry at my Hall of Fame speech.' (Laughs) It's a really good feeling, it really is, to be back with the Rams and like you said, in an executive position. For me, my thing is that I'm all about the fans. And I'll say this – I still have my radio show to do. I have TV I do now. 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. I'm your biggest fan and your biggest critic that is just me. I love this football team. Les, I want my team to win just like I said last year when they were asking me about this or that. I said, 'Look, I'm like the owner. I don't care. I just want to win.' And that's what it's all about. I think winning cures everything. When you're winning, everyone's happy. In the locker room, you go in the locker room, if you're losing and in the locker room you have a cup on the floor, 'See, this is why we lose. You have cups on the floor and everything!' But when you win, the locker room can be dirty and, 'Man, this is just a bunch of guys having fun!' So that's the attitude I want to have, is that we're going to do some winning around here. That's going to happen because the Ram organization, to me is a proud organization, it really is. That horn means a lot to me, so I'm looking forward to moving forward with the organization. Like I said, I have a job to do now. I'm going to keep it real. I'm going to be who I am, but most definitely, like I said, I don't want anyone to get it confused at all – I love my football team. I do, 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. People 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.' So when it happens, you don't want to be one of those fans that say, 'Well, I used to be a Ram fan when we went to the Super Bowl. But, I'm a fan all over again.' Uh, no you're not that kind of fan. You're a fair weather fan. We want all of our fans to be true fans of the Los Angeles Rams."
Snead: "We're on the same page."
(On what he thinks about DT Aaron Donald's holdout)
Dickerson: "I'm glad he asked that question because as a former player, I know how hard it is for a player to holdout. You think it's easy on a player, it's not easy on a player. Guys get antsy. I was with a player a couple weeks ago, (Raider T) Donald Penn that was holding out and I was having dinner with him. He was like, 'Man…' I could tell and I said, 'Man, this is going to happen. Just settle down.' It no different for me. When I held out it was no fun and I'm sure it's not fun for Aaron Donald. Look, he's a great football player. I mean, he's our best football player on our defense and he's probably if not – I think he's the best football player in the NFL on defense, for sure. I do believe that we will get him back. I don't know the specifics on contracts – that's not my deal. But, I know this much here, if I'm Aaron Donald, and I've been in Aaron Donald's shoes, he wants to come back here very badly. Trust me, I know how a football player thinks. You want to get paid because this is, you do it for a living. This is his job. I know he's not trying to be selfish with his football team, but like anything else, he has to take care of him and also the team has to move forward too. It was the same thing when I was holding out. You see, the team has to move on and when you show up, 'Alright, we're that football team again.' So, I believe that Aaron will be here, no doubt. When he comes, I can say I'm truly an Aaron Donald fan and I'm for him no matter what because I'm always a player first most definitely, but he'll be back for sure."
(On how being employed by the Rams will affect his job as an analyst and if he feels the need to pull back)
Dickerson: "I've never been a guy to pull it back. I don't try to bash or kill anyone. I mean, even if I don't like something – I'll use this as an example, I'm not a Cowboy fan at all, but I just keep it real. If they're playing well, they're playing well. If my team, if they're playing good I'm going to step up and say, 'Hey, they're playing well.' A player doesn't play well all the time. I didn't play well all the time. Look at our young quarterback that we have. We have a lot of high expectations out of him. But, you look at last week's game, he didn't play well. But, no one plays well all the time. No one does. I didn't. I always say this; I remember the worst football game I played to date. We played the Redskins, I had three fumbles. My friend David had a fumble, too (laughs). We had six turnovers in that game. We lost the football game I think 17-9 and the media, they talked about how terrible I played and I said, 'But you know what, I agreed with them.' For sure, I felt like I helped them lose that football game. So like I said, I'll keep it real with what I talk about. I'm fair, you know I want to be fair and I always say, it's always my truth. It might not be everyone else's truth, but it's what I believe. And, it's no matter what the situation is, if it's about myself, the football team, the organization or whatever. It is what it is. If I went out and I said that, 'The Los Angeles Rams, man, they're a great football team at 4-12.' Now, people would say, 'What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy? You know, that's not a great record.' But, if I look back and I said that the Dallas Cowboys – I know I keep talking about Dallas. But the Dallas Cowboys, you know, "Oh, they're a terrible football team. The quarterback's terrible, the running game's terrible.' People would think I was crazy. I mean they really would. So, you have to be objective and I'm objective, I am. I told Shannon (Sharpe) when we did the show on FS1 last week. I said, 'Man come on, I'm not a Cowboy fan for sure, but you've got to say when they're playing well.' And, that's the same thing for my football team here. When we're doing well, when we're doing good, you might have to say, 'Eric, curve it back a little bit. I mean, I know you're excited about playing well, but can you hold it back some?' Because I'm going to be that excited about it. Sometimes people say, "You're too honest.' But, that's the only way I know."
(On what his role with the team will entail)
Dickerson: "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 try to get them to know about football. Everyone doesn't love football, but when the Rams came back and it made it that much easier. Going to the hospital, being in the hospital, giving to the community – then people know who the Rams are. Our football team, knowing who we are, we're out here in Thousand Oaks, but we're still the Los Angeles Rams – even though we're not in the city, so that part. I'll be at games. Stuff with the new stadium – trying to get people to come to our new stadium, sell the luxury suites. That's a part of my job that I'm hoping I'll be good at. I know I'll be good at it, just put it like that, I know me. But the most important thing is and I keep saying this is putting a good product on the field. When you put a good product on the field, you won't have a problem selling anything. I can sell you a bunch of shoe strings and you just love them to death because it's a good product. So, that's part of my role. I don't have to come here every day to work, so that's a good thing. I don't have to show up here every day. I get a chance to go to games – free. I love my life. Let's put it like that. I have to thank these guys."
(On where this moment ranks in his career)
Dickerson: "Did I think this moment would come? No, I did not. I really didn't. I saw it happen for other people – you know I saw it with my friend Emmitt Smith, saw he went back and retired as a Cowboy. Brett Favre. I've got to say, no, I did not. I talked about it with my friend, Miguel Gustavo, we started talking about it. He said, 'Man, it would be a great thing if you could go back and retired a Los Angeles Ram.' I always had in the back of my mind, I really did. Then, I talked to (chief operating officer & executive vice president of football operations) Kevin (Demoff) about it a couple months ago, brought it up to him. I didn't know if he liked the idea or not, I just felt like that doing it here in Los Angeles was proper. Nothing against St. Louis. The Rams did great in St. Louis, but I never played in St. Louis. Here I thought was the perfect spot, the perfect time. When he 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. He called me like almost a day and a half before and said, 'I think we can get it done.' The day before I was sitting at my house and I was looking on my cell phone just watching some of my highlights because I don't watch my highlights. You don't watch yourself play, I just never was that guy. I was like, 'Man, I just can't believe that I played and I was able to do some of the things that I did.' Am I excited about it? Man, very. I'm humbled by it. I thank God for it. That's who really made this happen. I thank Kevin Demoff, I thank (owner/chairman) Stan Kroenke and most definitely, Coach Sean McVay, Les Snead – I thank you all. I mean, they didn't have to, they don't owe me anything. But for them doing it, I thank them and I'll always thank them for that."
Snead: "What Miguel didn't tell you is because we're using a roster spot for you - we've got one more preseason game and we're going to rest a lot of starters, so we are going to need you to finish that fourth quarter for us."
Dickerson: "Let me run home and get those googles and if I don't show up – just hold the bus until I come. Just keep holding it, keep looking for me."
Snead: "So, at that point we'll re-sign our kicker. Let him finish the fourth quarter."
Dickerson: "The kicker's got a good shot at coming back let me put it like that."
(On if he had one more play, what would it be)
Dickerson: "If I had one more play you know what that play would be – 47 gap. Forty-seven gap on one, ready break. That would be the play. David (Hill) knows, he's got to get out there and get somebody."