Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk were chosen this week for induction into the Colts Ring of Honor in December.
The additions of Dickerson and Faulk are noteworthy and appropriate because of the greatness they brought to Indianapolis.
Dickerson came to the Colts on a Halloween Night trade involving the L.A. Rams and Buffalo with Buffalo getting Cornelius Bennett and the Rams getting six draft picks and two running backs.
He got to Indianapolis just in time that Saturday morning to get a physical and hop the team flight to New York, where we played the Jets on Sunday.
The press conference at the team hotel had about 200 reporters, and the visibility and marketing dynamic for the team was changed dramatically with Eric being on board. In fact, he was Sports Illustrated’s cover six days later.
Coming out of a player strike, we took flight with Eric’s addition, making the playoffs and nearly engineering an upset playoff win.
The next season (1988) brought our first Monday Night Game, appropriately on Halloween Night. To many long-time Colts fans that game remains one of the most memorable ever.
Eric was much more treat than trick with 159 rushing yards and four TDs in 19 minutes. He could have run all night.
Eric went on to the rushing title that year and had a solid 1989 season before things started slowing down.
Still, he was the first truly big-time NFL superstar to arrive in Indianapolis.
Marshall came in a much more natural way – through the draft, and he had a much different style than Eric.
Where Eric was a pure upright runner, Marshall was a darter and dancer who had power and a quick gear. Both he and Eric got to full speed tremendously well, and Marshall was able to have four 1,000-yard seasons with the club.
While Eric was a very good receiver, Marshall was outstanding, nearly producing a 1,000-yard season rushing and receiving in 1998.
Marshall later went on to star in St. Louis as the Colts took a different direction.
The direction now is to put both players in the Ring of Honor in December. Jim Irsay has made so many right decisions, and this is just another one.
The symmetry of Marshall (number 28) and Eric (number 29) is perfect. Both did a great deal to forward the franchise, and both helped the team win.
Colts fans are smart and have large hearts. I personally cannot wait for the applause these two players will hear on December 15.
In full disclosure, I was the PR Director here for both of them. They were fun to handle. Marshall was a bit of a challenge. He had me more on the defensive than I liked, but we laugh about that now.
We both share the same hometown – New Orleans – and both were public school products, though my school and his were in different parts of the town in more ways than one. I personally think he should have been the rightful winner of the Heisman Trophy that went to Gino Toretta. (They were paired here in Indianapolis for a short time.)
(I also think Peyton Manning should have won, too, but that is the New Orleans in me speaking out. Two natives of that city should have won that trophy within four years of each other. Just my opinion.)
Eric was fun to work with. There were times he would not do everything asked of him, but he was consistent and fair. I understood why he did not do some things, but he surprised me quite well with others.
My first meeting with him and one of my later ones stick out the most.
In preparing for that press conference in New York, he, Ron Meyer and I met in Ron’s hotel room to strategize for the questioning.
When we were done, we still had about 15 minutes. Ron grabbed the pillow off his bed, handed it to Eric and told him I was his fullback as we ran through some plays. I can honestly say I was his first fullback with the Colts.
After the 1999 season, Eric was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I was sitting with him alone in a holding room in a Miami hotel when Dave Motts of the hall burst in to convey the news that Eric had made it. Eric smiled as only he could do.
Congrats to both Eric and Marshall. They are worthy recipients for the Colts’ Ring of Honor. They like going in together because of their friendship – and Colts fans are the winners.
Tags: Eric Dickerson, indianapolis colts, Jim Irsay, Marshall Faulk, Pro Football Hall of Fame
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