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A Better Way, Time to Bargain

October 25, 1987

Eric Dickerson, the Rams' premier running back, wants out of Anaheim. To hear Dickerson tell it, anywhere will do. Even Buffalo. Now that's really wanting out of Orange County. The home of Disneyland has become dismal land to him since the Rams refused Dickerson's demands to renegotiate his contract and kick it up to the million-dollar level.

If Dickerson is still a Ram come Monday night's game in Cleveland, and he gets into the game, we hope his timing is better on the field than it has been off.

The players have just returned from a 24-day strike that thus far not only failed to produce the package they wanted, but also didn't generate much fan support. And the team, with a 1-4 record, will be out of the race early if it doesn't start winning. Against that backdrop, Dickerson drew up his game plan for a showdown with management. It's a bad call, unfair to his team, the fans who pay the bills, and to himself.

Contracts are best negotiated in the off season. To do so now is too diverting. And divisive. Especially when a gifted athlete says he might not be able to give 100% if his contract isn't changed. In a multiyear contract the player and the team take a chance. Dickerson could have a horrendous season, and the team is still obligated to put 100% into his pay envelope. Dickerson has the same obligation when he puts on his shoulder pads. He knows that.

If Dickerson really wants a new contract, or out of Anaheim, he ought to make his point the way he does it best, going over the goal line with a football under his arm.

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