The Rams' charter flight to Philadelphia last Friday was held up for 15 minutes by Eric Dickerson and Rams owner Georgia Frontiere, who were rushing to the airport after the details had been ironed out on an agreement that led to an end of the running back's 47-day holdout.
Frontiere will give Dickerson his $150,000 reporting bonus and a $4 million insurance policy (which will cost the team about $40,000). But the insurance policy is a wash in terms of out-of-pocket expenses for the Rams because Dickerson has agreed to pay the Rams $47,000 in fines—$1,000 for each day he had held out. Both sides have agreed to continue negotiating a contract extension.
And what if future negotiations should reach an impasse? Says Dickerson, "I'm here to stay. I got tired of holding out. I got frustrated, angry and sometimes depressed. I got tired of working out and not playing football."
Some of Dickerson's teammates were tired of it all, too. "Coach [John] Robinson had made a big point of everybody being on time for the team plane," said offensive tackle Bill Bain. "He broke John's rules. He showed up late. I hope they fine him a Porsche or two."
Meanwhile, the other Rams blockers, upon whom Dickerson has bestowed Rolex watches and other expensive baubles in thanks for their efforts, are planning a welcome-home party for Eric.
"We've got a gift for him," said tackle Jackie Slater. "We'll give him the list of the 10 most expensive restaurants in Orange County. And we'll buy him something—the gas—and drive him there."
"...And then we'll let him pick up the check," added guard Kent Hill.
Tight end David Hill, one of Dickerson's best friends, thought of an even better gift. "How about an aerial picture of Sealy, Texas?" Hill thought about it for a moment. "Ah, that'd be just a little snapshot," he said.
Coach Marion Campbell's days in Philly may be numbered—especially if he sticks with rookie quarterback Randall Cunningham. Supposedly, Campbell has five games to get the winless Eagles on track. Standing in line for the job is Louisville coach Howard Schnellenberger, a friend of new Eagles owner Norman Braman.
Cunningham completed only 14 of 34 passes for 211 yards against the Rams on Sunday. Far worse, he threw four interceptions, was sacked five times, and in the fourth quarter, with L.A. leading 10-6, he fumbled on the Rams' 16. Nevertheless, Campbell said after the 17-6 loss that "Randall will be, without question, our quarterback." That is, if Marion is still the Eagles' coach.
Several prominent players say they would agree to undergo random urinalyses. The current agreement between the Players' Association and the Management Council allows urinalysis as part of a player's one or two standard physicals each season. Beyond that, teams may test only if there is "reasonable cause." Why have these players agreed to be tested at any time this season?
•Dan Fouts, San Diego quarterback: "Privacy is important, but something has to be done. I own my own business [Fouts Financial]. I have a lot invested. I don't want my employees jeopardizing my investment by using drugs."
•Kellen Winslow, San Diego tight end: "Drugs are widely used and widely abused in the NFL. Everybody has to put down their gloves and realize that we have a problem. This is a human game; there are people who need our help."
•Danny White, Dallas quarterback: "I'm tired of America thinking, 'If he can do drugs and be an athlete, why can't I?' "
•Charles White, the Rams' running back who in 1982 underwent drug rehabilitation: "Testing might have saved me; it might save others."
However, the Players' Association's attorney, Dick Berthelsen, cautions: "No individual can negotiate anything differently from the union."
Last week, Chuck Muncie, the nine-year veteran running back, retired from football. He had been attempting a comeback with the Vikings following his third stay at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic—and a 10-month suspension from the NFL. The announcement came three days after he had served a one-game suspension for failing to attend two counseling sessions. Muncie had agreed to undergo counseling as one of the conditions for his reinstatement as an active player.
In a statement released by the Vikings, Muncie said: "...It simply was too difficult for me to work with the [counseling] program and play football.... The decision to leave this game was a very difficult one for me to make. But once I had made up my mind, it was like tons and tons of weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt that finally I was doing something for Chuck Muncie, not something that would appease other people."
Doornink delivers off the field as well as on.
Harold Carmichael, the Eagles' wide receiver from 1971 to '83, holds the NFL record for pass receptions in consecutive games played—127. His closest rivals among active players are:
Steve Largent, Seahawks, 109
Ozzie Newsome, Browns, 83
Dwight Clark, 49ers, 74
*Kellen Winslow, Chargers, 71
Roy Green, Cardinals, 58
Cris Collinsworth, Bengals, 56
Tony Hill, Cowboys, 46
Todd Christensen, Raiders, 44
Carlos Carson, Chiefs, 44
*Streak temporarily on hold while Winslow is on injured reserve.
DR. DAN LETS NOTHING STAND IN HIS WAY
Dan Doornink, whose fall role in life is to block for Curt Warner and bust wedges on kickoffs, laughs when his Seahawk teammates refer to him as the Sensitive Man. But the nickname for the 6'3", 210-pound fullback is more accurate than ironic.
Doornink, 29, has completed three of his four years in the University of Washington's medical program, with special training in obstetrics-gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and pathology. Doornink, who spends all of the off-season working and learning at University Hospital in Seattle, hopes to receive his M.D. in May '87. "My pet peeve is doctors who fail to explain what's happening," says Doornink. "I imagine myself in the hospital, how scary it can be, and I take as much time as I can. If I'm not there, I tell my patients to write down their questions.
"I get the most satisfaction working with cancer in women or delivering babies." He has assisted in the delivery of about 40 babies, half by cesarean section. "I relate well to people, especially women. I have a knack for comforting."
Doornink grew up on a fruit ranch in Wapato (pop. 3,307), Wash. His father, Glenn, was also the town's general practitioner and moonlighted as a veterinarian.
During the season Doornink has done a little moonlighting himself. When guard Robert Pratt once complained of a nagging stomachache and began losing weight, Doornink correctly diagnosed the problem as a parasite. "What other doctor makes huddle calls?" Doornink asks.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Freeman McNeil rushed for 192 yards and two TDs on 18 carries in the Jets' 42-3 win over Buffalo. He broke the club's single-game rushing record (180 yards) set by Matt Snell in '64.
DEFENSE: Detroit defensive end William Gay had an interception and fumble recovery—they led to a field goal and a TD—on the Cowboys' first two possessions as the Lions upset Dallas 26-21.