As the New Orleans Saints wound up preparations for today's game against the Rams, linebacker Rickey Jackson said, "Eric Dickerson can't be stopped--until this week."
He added: "I think our run defense is better than the Bears. If he goes out and runs against us, he'll prove himself, because we have the best defense in the league against the run."
Said Dickerson: "I think Chicago came out in the paper and said they'd test me, too."
That was Otis Wilson, also a linebacker, who said, "Eric doesn't like to play against us, because we tattoo him."
As it turned out, it was Wilson who got tattooed. Dickerson gained 111 yards, and the Rams won, 20-17.
Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: Earl Campbell, who started out in high school as a linebacker, said he was switched to running back after the team became shorthanded because of injuries.
"I cried," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I didn't want to do it. Dick Butkus had been my idol all those years. I wanted to be a middle linebacker in the pros like him."
Darrell Royal, his coach at Texas, said: "I think he would have have been a tremendous linebacker. We slapped him into our goal-line defense at Baylor once, and they didn't budge him an inch. We put him in there against Arkansas and he blocked a punt. I often wonder why we took him out. We should have used him on defense more."
Add Campbell: Said former Houston Oilers quarterback Gifford Nielsen, recalling Campbell's exploits as a runner: "I remember that time after time I'd hand off to Earl and then just be in awe of what he did, it was so awesome.
"There was the Ram game in '78. Isiah Robertson had popped off in the paper about Earl before the game, and it seemed like Earl was playing with a vendetta. One play, he hit Robertson so hard that Isiah's helmet just popped straight up off his head. It was like hitting a rubber doll and seeing the doll hat pop into the air."
Trivia Time: How did Earl Campbell get the nickname Tyler Rose? (Answer below.)
Would-you-believe-it Dept.: On the day the SMU football team held picture day at Texas Stadium, a segment of the TV show, "Dallas," was being filmed in one of the luxury suites. After the shooting, the cast came down on the field and posed with the team for pictures.
According to the Dallas Times Herald, SMU's photographer asked Larry Hagman to kneel down next to Coach Bobby Collins for a picture with the coaching staff, but Hagman said, "J.R. never kneels."
They say 5-7 Joe Morris of the New York Giants has an advantage because he can hide behind his blockers, but Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, assistant general manager of the Washington Redskins, told the Washington Post: "Morris can't see the guys on the other side of the line, either. He can't keep from getting hit with a good blow. Eventually, someone will stick him. I never think of a guy like him as having a long career."
Said Morris: "I always know where the defense will be."
Note: In the 20-0 playoff loss to the Chicago Bears last year, Morris was put out of commission early when he got refrigerated by William Perry.
Trivia Answer: He helped his mother raise and sell roses in Tyler, Tex.
Secret Service spokesman Robert Snow, after a female agent was barred from performing her duties at the all-male Burning Tree Country Club in Bethesda, Md.: "My question is, what if the place was on fire and a female firefighter showed up?"