Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson is a self-admitted Cowboys hater from way back.
He didn’t like the Cowboys growing up in Sealy, Texas.
He didn’t like the Cowboys when he played in college in Dallas at SMU.
And he loved running through the Cowboys when he played in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. He still owns the NFL single-game playoff rushing record of 248 yards, set against the Cowboys in 1986.
But Dickerson is a fan of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, the two-time NFL rushing champ who is holding out in hopes of a new contract.
Dickerson said Elliott reminds him of himself and how he was dominating the league and carrying his team in the 1980s, and how he had to hold out before getting traded to the Indianapolis Colts and finally being fairly compensated.
Dickerson, who was in Hawaii for Saturday’s preseason game between the Cowboys and the Rams as an ambassador for the Rams, said Elliott is doing what is best for him by holding out.
“As a running back, you only have so many carries,” Dickerson said. “The Cowboys are using him as much as they can. As Zeke goes, the Cowboys go. A holdout is never popular for the player or the team. I have done it before. It is tough.
“But there is life after football. Zeke is doing the right thing. Zeke is doing what is best for him. I am pulling for him. This team is the right team for him. I hope he figures this out.”
Dickerson said it’s tough for Elliott to be away from the team right now, missing the camaraderie of camp. But he said Elliott is in the prime of career and should be maximizing his earnings now.
Dickerson blames the NFL Players Association for agreeing to a collective bargaining agreement with a rookie wage scale that limits the earning potential of running backs, like Elliott, who reach their peak early.
“It’s difficult to be away,” Dickerson said. “That is the hard part, being away from the team, but this is business for Jerry Jones, business for Elliott. A lot of fans and media don’t understand that it’s business for the players. Holdouts are never pretty. I felt I did what was right for me. I wasn’t angry. I wanted to be treated right. I have no regrets.”
Even though a source indicated that talks between Elliott’s agents and the Cowboys have been minimal at best over the past couple of weeks, Dickerson believes the situation will be resolved for the start of the season. He thinks the Cowboys are trying to get a deal done with quarterback Dak Prescott first.
But if Elliott is forced to miss games, Dickerson said that will be bad news for a Cowboys season that the team hoped would end with a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.
“Without Zeke, the Cowboys are going nowhere,” Dickerson said.