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DOG Days
Rick Reilly
December 04, 1989
Eric Dickerson could become the greatest runner in history—unless he quits the game in frustration first
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December 04, 1989

Dog Days

Eric Dickerson could become the greatest runner in history—unless he quits the game in frustration first

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It's not just women. Dickerson doesn't trust people. One time a friend forged his name on an application for a car loan. When Dickerson found out, he canceled the loan. The friend called him and said, "I can't believe you did that. You've changed."

Dick doesn't trust reporters. "First I'm great, then I fumble, then I don't like to run inside," he says. "Half these guys have never put on a uniform."

Dick doesn't trust whites. Occasionally he gets even with amateur racists. One day he went into a Mercedes dealership wearing sweats. "Hey, how much is this one?" he said to the white salesman, who'd been ignoring him.

"Sixty thousand," said the salesman.

"Whooo-eee! These things are kind of expensive," said Dick.

"Yes," said the salesman as Dickerson walked away, "they are." At which point Dickerson called over a second salesman and said in a loud voice, "Give me one of these."

Dick doesn't trust fans. "Fans think I'm egotistical," he says. "They don't know me. I don't let them know me. I don't care if they know me. I love my mother and I love my family and a few friends. Nobody else counts."

But didn't his family lie to him too? After all, he says he was 12 or 13 before he found out that Viola was his great-aunt, not his mom; that her husband, Kary, was his great-uncle, not his dad; and that Helen was his mother, not his sister. "Yeah, but it never bothered me," he says. "Not once."

Nor did he ever pay much attention to his biological father. In fact, he rarely gave his father a second thought until one day in 1984 when Emmitt Thomas, a St. Louis Cardinals assistant coach, came up to Dickerson after the Cards had played the Rams, and said, "Is Richard Seals your father?"

Dickerson froze: "Yes, he is."

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