Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson says Rams belong in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES -- Eric Dickerson spent the first five seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Rams, and he's hoping his former team will return to its former home next year.

"I believe the Rams belong here [in Los Angeles]," Dickerson told ESPN. "That's like the Packers not being in Green Bay. You couldn't imagine that. I just feel like they need to be back in L.A. I go to St. Louis and support them, don't get me wrong. I don't care where they go, I'll still support them, but I would like them back in Los Angeles. I live in Los Angeles and a lot of players live here who played for the Los Angeles Rams."

Dickerson, who spoke before his second annual hall of fame golf invitational benefiting the Young Warriors Foundation, still roots for the St. Louis Rams. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his No. 29 was retired after the Rams had left Southern California, but he has been hoping for a homecoming for the past two decades.

"Honestly, I'm hoping the Rams come back," Dickerson said. "I do go to St. Louis, they're still the Rams and the team I played for, but a lot of guys feel the same way. They'd like to have them back here in town. We need a team now, and I think the perfect fit would be the Los Angeles Rams."

Earlier this year, the Inglewood City Council approved plans to build a $2 billion football stadium that includes Rams owner Stan Kroenke as a partner.

"If the Rams come, they have a great owner in Stan Kroenke, and it's a different organization than when I played," Dickerson said. "I just think it would be great. I don't think you'll find one person who will say L.A. shouldn't have a team. If they do, they don't like football. I think we do need a team here.

"This is a major city. It's the second-largest city in the country and we don't have a football team, and at one point, we had two football teams in town with the L.A. Rams and the L.A. Raiders. I just think it's the perfect time. The NFL is bigger than it has ever been and it's only getting bigger, and to not have a team here is like not having a team in New York. I think we deserve a team. If you had asked me that question 20 years ago, I would have said no. I didn't think the fans were ready, I didn't think they would support the team, but football is so big and everybody loves it and everybody wants to go to football games."

Marcus Allen, who played for the Los Angeles Raiders for the first 11 seasons of his Hall of Fame career, agrees with Dickerson. He believes the Raiders should be the second team to move back to L.A. if they can't get a new stadium in Oakland.

"I think the Rams would be ideal because of their history here," Allen said. "The Raiders do have history here in Los Angeles. I would like to see Oakland exhaust every opportunity to make it happen in Oakland, but if it doesn't, I think naturally L.A. is the perfect place for the Raiders. My history is with the Los Angeles Raiders, and I think there would be nothing better for me than to see the team here."

Three months ago, the Carson City Council approved plans for a $1.7 billion football stadium that could become the shared home of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

NFL owners are scheduled to meet Aug. 11 in Chicago to discuss possible relocation scenarios involving Los Angeles as well as review stadium proposals in Inglewood, Carson, San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis.

As much as Allen would like to have any NFL team in Los Angeles, he believes if the Rams and Raiders return to L.A., it would be an easy transition for the teams.

"That would be the easiest transition; it would be seamless to me," Allen said. "The teams have had history and a following here in Los Angeles. The Raiders won a championship here, and it would be perfect synergy for me to see both teams back. It's unbelievable it has taken this long. I would have thought a team would have been back here in the second-biggest market by now. How can you call yourself the second-biggest market in the world and don't have one of the great sports franchises here in your city? It's rather ridiculous."

Dickerson, who also played one season with the Los Angeles Raiders, would be happy to see both teams back in Los Angeles but believes one would be fine as well.

"Some people may want two teams here, but I think one team could sustain this city," Dickerson said. "And to me, that team is the original Los Angeles Rams."