Fisher: Dickerson shouldn't expect favors after ripping Rams
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher says Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson shouldn't expect the franchise to give him special privileges after the former running back publicly criticized the team.
Fisher reiterated Tuesday that Dickerson is welcome to be around the Rams (4-7).
But Fisher also expanded on his version of a phone conversation with Dickerson that led the former Rams star to vow he won't attend another game while Fisher is the head coach.
Fisher says he explained to Dickerson earlier this month that players were uncomfortable with him being on the sideline after he disparaged them on his weekly radio show. The Rams have lost six of their last seven games in their homecoming season, and would have to finish 4-1 for Fisher to avoid his fifth consecutive losing season in charge.
''He's totally entitled to his opinion,'' Fisher said. ''He has every right to be critical, but as I told him in the conversation, you can't have it both ways. You can't be critical and then come back and ask for this and ask for that. That's just common sense.''
Dickerson had asked for several sideline passes to the Rams' game against Miami on Nov. 20.
His angry disclosure of his conversation with Fisher on Monday created a public relations problem for the Rams, who had been warmly received by local alumni - including Dickerson - in their return to LA from a 21-year sojourn in St. Louis.
Even after this public spat, Fisher insisted Dickerson is still welcome at the Rams' training complex, inviting him to attend practice or sit in on team meetings.
''He's welcome,'' Fisher said. ''He's always been welcome. It was documented, and I want him to be around. I want him to be a part of this. I don't know where (the criticism) came from, but we're moving on.''
The coach said Dickerson hasn't taken him up on the offer to attend practice, but other players did, including Rams Hall of Famers Jack Youngblood and Jackie Slater. So did running back Eddie George, who played for Fisher in Tennessee.
''I opened everything to Eric,'' Fisher said. ''I wanted people to know that we would provide anything for him.''
Dickerson spent parts of five seasons (1983-87) with the Los Angeles Rams when they played in Anaheim. He set the NFL rookie rushing record with 1,808 yards and followed it up with an NFL-record 2,105 yards in 1984, but had several contract disputes with the Rams before they traded him to Indianapolis during the 1987 season.
The Rams moved to St. Louis after the 1994 season. They haven't had a winning season since 2003 or made the playoffs since 2004.
Los Angeles has a knack for attracting this type of weird sports controversy: Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson routinely trashed the Lakers in recent years, directing particular venom at former coach Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers eliminated Johnson's ceremonial title as a team vice president earlier this year.
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