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‘I Held Out’: Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson Sheds Light on His Career In the NFL and Why He Was Unwilling to Play Nice with the Media In New Memoir ‘Watch My Smoke’

Eric Dickerson is telling his truth, and it plunges right into the heart of the NFL.

The former running back’s upcoming memoir, “Watch My Smoke,” revisits Dickerson’s standoff that happened at the end of his first NFL team tenure.

The standout from Southern Methodist University finished third in Heisman Trophy voting behind Herschel Walker and John Elway. He was also a First-Team All-American in 1982 and a Second-Team All-American in 1981.

Dickerson’s Game

However, as a pro player, Dickerson set records only three years into his NFL career. He had a rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards in 1983. He also set the single-season rushing mark of 2,105 yards in 1984, eventually helping to lead the Los Angeles Rams to the NFC Championship game in 1985.

Dickerson gets real in this except shared with the media:

On realizing that the NFL is a business

By the end of the ’84 season, my outlook about being a pro football player had begun to change. I was waking up to the way the league worked, no longer a wide-eyed rookie who was just happy to be there. The newspapers had started publishing players’ salaries, and I’d see what other guys were making compared to my salary. I’d see how the Rams treated their players. Like how they’d cut guys who got injured in the middle of the season. Like how team leaders and good players would get traded, because while it’s all about the team inside the locker room, it’s all about profit for the people upstairs.

On stalemating to make more money

I wanted $1.4 million a season — but I was slated to earn $200,000, which wasn’t even in the top 15 among running backs. The Rams didn’t budge. So I went back home to my mom’s house when training camp started. I expected to be back in camp in just a few days, but then a week went by without a new deal, and then two weeks went by. I wound up staying home for 47 days.

On the media’s unfair assessment of him

While I sat at home, the writers back in L.A. teed off on me. Our relationship had always been tense. I’d been mistrustful of the media since high school and had never been the warm and cuddly superstar they’d wanted. A lot of guys, many who come from rough home lives, seek validation from the media and love from the public, but that was never me. I got plenty of love at home from my mom and dad, so I didn’t come to the media needing anything, and I think that rubbed people the wrong way. When I held out, the writers showed their true feelings about me.

To hear more shocking revelations from Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson about the way he was treated during his NFL career, check out more experts from his memoir “Watch My Smoke,” by clicking here.


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