The he said, he said between Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson and Los Angeles head coach Jeff Fisher is just the latest example of why the Rams need a complete reboot of an organization that has already squandered all the goodwill generated by its move back to Southern California.
Dickerson is hardly a rare breed in today’s media environment, an ex-player who toes the line of unpaid ambassador and pundit, often appearing on sports talk radio shows to talk Rams and hosting his own two-hour show on Mondays.
It was there where Dickerson recently revealed that Fisher called him out of the blue and said that if Dickerson continued to be critical of his team on the show or in the media, in general, he could stop expecting favors like sideline passes at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
This is where I’ll remind you that Fisher is the head coach of an NFL team, calling a part-time radio host up to complain about the same thing the full-time guys do on a consistent basis all across the country.
In fact, if you can find a guy lionizing the job Fisher has done with the Rams please forward me the information because that’s a story.
Dickerson claims Fisher told him that many of the Rams players and coaches (evidently, heavy radio listeners) were uncomfortable with him being on the sidelines.
Dickerson believes that Fisher was ordered to make the call by Rams executive Kevin Demoff and for the coach’s sake you almost have to hope that is true. Otherwise, the guy in charge of an underachieving team who has completely flubbed the handling of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft wasting his time to make this kind of phone call is a script even the most inventive minds in Hollywood would have rejected for being too outlandish.
As for Dickerson, he should stop acting like a scorned ex and stop straddling the fence. If he wants to go to the Coliseum as a member of the media, apply for credentials like the rest of us.
From the Rams perspective, it’s also their right to deny sideline passes for an all-time great for stepping off the reservation, no matter how petty and short-sighted that is.
The better way to avoid criticism from Dickerson and others who actually have far more of an effect on the casual public, however, is to succeed on the football field.
Too often Fisher is dumbfounded, this being the latest example as the veteran coach with a resume defined by mediocrity was stunned that this developed into a story.
“He’s welcome here,” Fisher said of Dickerson on Tuesday. “The last conversation we had was really positive – that was on November 17. I got a text from him moments after saying, ‘Thanks for the conversation, best of luck, have a good night and go Rams.’ I don’t know what took place between then and now. But I’m on to New England now – we’re moving forward. He’s welcome – he’s always been welcome as it was documented in things that I said. I want him to be around, want him to be part of this family like we have with everybody else. I don’t know where it came from. We’re moving on.”
Talk about tone deaf.
The only way Fisher can evoke the image of a coach like Bill Belichick is to latch on to that legendary mentor’s favorite deflection technique, “on to (insert city name).” But Fisher can’t keep himself from falling back into the mud by inserting himself back into a self-manufactured controversy over free tickets.
“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,” Fisher said. “That’s just common sense. And we got it resolved.”
And hey, Dickerson will be making his requests to someone else next year anyway.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, CBS Baltimore, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.