The verdict has been out for a while on Chris Johnson’s lofty goal of beating Eric Dickerson’s 1984 single season rushing record 2,105 yards. It’s a definite no-go especially after the Tennessee Titans dismal 17-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday in which he collected 53 yards on 13 carries.
So we caught up with Eric Dickerson,50, Monday during a conference call promoting ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary, Pony Exce$$, premiering this weekend to ask him about his thoughts on what goes into a 2000-plus rushing yard season.
Earlier this NFL season Chris Johnson talked about wanting to break your record. I was wondering what you thought when you heard about that and also what kind of things have to go right to rush for more than 2,000 yards in an NFL season?
Dickerson: I heard about him talking about wanting to break my record. The one thing about having a season like that is it’s not something you talk about, especially publicly. Those NFL defenses take that personal, they really do. And coaches take it personal when you say you’re going to rush for 2,000 yards.
Everything has to go right, you have to stay healthy, you can’t fall behind, you have to keep games close. You get down like they did yesterday with 17-zip, all the sudden you have to throw the football. It’s just so much has to go your way.Matter-of-fact going through all my medical records a couple of months ago through the NFL, I found out that year in 1984 I only full practiced seven times that year. Really I wasn’t healthy a lot, but I was able to play in games. And that’s how it is, that’s the life of an NFL running back. It’s a lot that goes into trying to stay healthy to try and rush for 2,000 yards. One thing is that the team has to get into it
Do you think Chris Johnson possibly could break that one day?
Dickerson: It’s possible, it’s always possible. He’ll have to go out and to it first. I don’t want him to break it, I’ll say that (laughs). I think one day that record will be broken. I’ve lived a long life, I hope I’m dead and gone when that happens, but somebody will break it someday.
I think Chris Johnson has the physical ability to reach his goal. He is just in his third NFL season after all. But a series of lucky breaks must fall Johnson’s way for him to reach 2,000-plus yards again. Judging by the way things look in Tennessee right now, it may be a while.
Eric Dickerson on 30 for 30 Pony Express