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"I thought so," said Thomas. "I played against him in college. You run just like him."
Seals was a standout slotback and defensive back at Prairie View (Tex.) A & M from 1962 to '65. He ran a 4.4 40, played on teams that went 19-1 over two seasons and sprinted on the track team.
He fathered Eric at age 16, when Seals was in the 10th grade, but he couldn't bring himself to marry Helen. "I wasn't ready for that," he says. Today Seals owns a car-care center in Houston. He is married, has another child and reluctantly stays out of Dickerson's life. "It's not really the way I want it," says Seals, "but I think it's how Eric wants it. I don't want to jump in on Eric's glory."
Seals has seen Dickerson play as a pro four or five times, but has never let him know when he was at a game. "I just like to see him do well," he says.
Dick's reaction? "My father is dead."
SEE DICK WALK
Fifty-three hours after the Denver game, Dickerson is about to board a red-eye to Indianapolis. He will land at 5:18 a.m., sleep for two hours (not bad!) and be at practice by 9:00. "I feel like going in tomorrow and saying, 'I quit. I'm tired of it. I'm turning my stuff in,' " Dickerson says. "Sometimes I feel like I've burned out. Most of the fun is gone from the game. You've got to love football, and right now I sure don't love it.
"When we lose, everyone looks at me. 'How come, Eric?' I hate it. I feel like I have to do everything myself. I can't block for myself. I can't run every time. Maybe it's not so much my teammates that think that, but the fans do. They expect you to do it all."
"Sometimes I wish I'd never started playing, you know? I get 80 yards, and it's a bad day for me. Do you know how hard it is to get over 100 yards in a game or over 1,000 in a year? Or 1,200 or 1,400 every year? There's only one guy in our backfield [despite his injury and sitting out a game, Dickerson has three times as many carries this year as any other Colt back]. It's fourth-and-one. Who do you think they're going to hand it to? The galloping ghost?"