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Eric Dickerson Admits Origin of Legendary Gold Trans Am

It’s a tale old as time. 

Back in 1979, Eric Dickerson was known as one of the best high school football players in the country, and Texas A&M had its eyes set on him. The decades-old rumor was that the school bought him a gold Trans Am to get him to verbally commit to the Aggies—a car he kept even after he flipped his commitment to SMU. The former running back always denied the tale, claiming his grandmother bought him the iconic vehicle. 

That is until an excerpt of his memoir, Watch My Smoke: The Eric Dickerson Story, written with Greg Hanlon, was published in D Magazine, revealing what actually happened with the car. 

Dickerson explains how he was under significant pressure to go to Texas A&M, even revealing that he received a suitcase filled with $50,000 allegedly from the institution to get him to commit there. He did not take the deals that came his way. 

“Even though I turned that money down, A&M stayed after me and remained in the picture — there was that much pressure for me to go there,” Dickerson wrote in his memoir, according to D Magazine’s excerpt. “And then, a few weeks later, I mentioned to my stepdad in passing that I really liked the new Pontiac Trans Am. I’d seen it at a dealership on I-10 that I used to drive by to visit my grandparents in Houston, and I just liked it: the bird on the hood, the fins on the side, how sleek it was.

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“It was an innocent comment. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have remembered even saying it. But recruiting isn’t a normal circumstance, and before I knew it, I was talking to Shear, the big A&M booster in town.

“‘We can make that happen,’ he said.” 

He subsequently committed to Texas A&M before flipping to SMU. Dickerson writes that he eventually sold the Trans Am to a former teammate. 

“Now, until the present day, I’ve always said publicly that my grandparents bought me that car. My grandfather made good money from his job as a crane operator at a steel mill, and my grandma’s name is on the paperwork, so that’s technically true. But behind the scenes, A&M had agreed to reimburse her. And that, my friends, is how the notorious Trans Am was paid for.”

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