It has been a whirlwind last 24 hours for the Los Angeles Rams being involved in a controversy regarding Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, and things appear to be only getting much more complicated.
A day after Dickerson revealed that it was Jeff Fisher who had banned him from the sidelines at home games, the Rams head coach was once again firm on the stance that he did not tell the 56-year-old that he wasn't welcomed by the organization and even "opened everything" to him.
“I’ll say this – I stand behind what I talked about yesterday. He’s welcome here," Fisher said. "The last conversation we had was really positive – that was on November 17. I got a text from him moments after saying, ‘Thanks for the conversation, best of luck, have a good night and go Rams.’ I don’t know what took place between then and now.
"But I’m on to New England now – we’re moving forward. He’s welcome – he’s always been welcome as it was documented in things that I said. I want him to be around, want him to be part of this family like we have with everybody else. I don’t know where it came from. We’re moving on.”
Dickerson had stated on Monday night to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez that Fisher had called and informed him that the players felt uncomfortable with him on the sidelines and that he would not be given that opportunity in the future as long as he was the head coach.
In light of that, Fisher stated on Tuesday that had heard chatter about the backlash that he received but didn't pay much attention to all the talk surrounding the team. He instead added that he has also spoken to other former Rams greats such as Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood, who has been to a couple of team practices.
Along those same lines, Fisher does not believe that this situation will become a distraction for the team.
“No, no it’s not," Fisher said. "When you guys finish, you can go in the locker room and ask them. It’s not. They’re focused, they’re ready and they understand the challenge. It’s not a distraction. This is the most I’ve talked about it all day long – I’ve been working all day.”
There was also not much concern from Fisher about it affecting his relationships with any of other former players who may have been critical in the past. However, he did reveal his one point of conflict with Dickerson.
"I trust the relationships I’ve established with my players. I have great relationships with my players," Fisher said. "This game is about establishing relationships, and I’ve done so. With respect with the Eric situation, and it’s well documented, he’s totally entitled to his opinion and he has every right to be critical. As I told him in the conversation, you can’t have it both ways, you can’t be critical and then come back and ask for this, and ask for that. That’s just common sense. And we got it resolved. Again, based on that last conversation I had with him and the text, it was resolved."
That said, Fisher made it once again quite clear that he has nothing but respect for Dickerson and what he means to the organization.
"I don’t know where it got off course as far as he’s concerned. He’s welcome here," Fisher said. "He’s a Hall of Famer. I have great respect for his career, and his jacket, and what he represents.”