Just in case any NFL team out there was thinking about signing 56-year-old running back Eric Dickerson, don’t bother. He’s going to retire on Tuesday.
We’ve seen these one-day contract retirements before, but this is probably the first for a guy who hasn’t played in 24 years. The Los Angeles Rams announced they’ll sign Dickerson, who turns 57 years old on Sept. 2, to a one-day contract so he can retire as a Ram. Seriously. Dickerson hasn’t played a down for the Rams since 1987. His last NFL game was 1993.
There are a few reasons the Rams are doing this publicity stunt. The most obvious reason is to publicly extend an olive branch to perhaps the most popular player in Los Angeles Rams history. Last year, Dickerson and then-coach Jeff Fisher had a public feud over Dickerson criticizing the Rams, who were a terrible and boring football team. It was a bad PR move as the team tried to win over Los Angeles in its first season back. Fisher is gone, and the Rams want to make sure to let everyone know they’ve mended fences with Dickerson.
Also, Dickerson retired after the 1993 season, and the Rams left for St. Louis after the 1994 season. There wasn’t really much of a window to do this ceremonial retirement and it would have been strange for St. Louis to do it. So while this all seems quite strange, to sign a player whose last game was a little more than a year before current Rams quarterback Jared Goff was even born, it’s important for the Rams to symbolically welcome back one of their legends of the past.
“It feels amazing to sign this contract and officially be a Los Angeles Ram for life,” Dickerson said in a statement. “My passion for this organization during my playing days and for the players wearing Rams jerseys now, is undeniable. This is where my career started and this is where my heart is, so closing this chapter with the Rams back in Los Angeles feels right. I would like to thank Stan Kroenke and the Rams for this opportunity and all of the fans for their outpouring support over the years.”
So get out your rec specs and your blue-and-yellow No. 29 jerseys: Dickerson is going to be a Ram again, at least for a few hours.
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