He has interviews to attend and limos with TV sets inside to take him there. This week, he attended the same wedding reception as Linda Evans. A Saturday morning cartoon, which will be named after him, is on the drawing board. He wants to do Hertz commercials when O.J. is through and talks about a network sportscasting job as though it's almost a certainty.

And to think Eric Dickerson came to Los Angeles just to run with a football.

He does that, too -- and quite well, thanks. Last week, against the hapless Houston Oilers, Dickerson, 24, broke O.J. Simpson's single-season rushing record of 2,003 yards and finished the regular season with 2,105, which was 42 percent of the Los Angeles Rams' offense (5,006 yards).

He is certain to gain more when the Rams (10-6) play the New York Giants (9-7) in the NFC wild card game Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Anaheim Stadium, but that won't count. He had two more games than Simpson did in 1973 as it is.

Don't allow that to discredit what one nearsighted, occasionally homesick, wide-eyed, second-year pro from Southern Methodist has done to the National Football League. In two years, in an offense built entirely around him, Dickerson has put together the most productive back-to-back rushing seasons in history: 3,913 yards. Earl Campbell, who used to hold this record, now is 282 yards behind.

Coach John Robinson, who has Dickerson running the four basic plays his Southern Cal backs used to run, refers to Dickerson as "the act."

What does an act say back? That he still is the same old Eric, the forgotten college star still eager for publicity, still funny and a little tight with the dough, and as fond of cartoons and hunting as ever before.

The man hasn't changed. Only his life has.

"I wonder how many people would think that the day after he broke the record, he would be in a limo watching cartoons?" asked David Hill, a 235-pound tight end brought in from Detroit last season to block for Dickerson.

Hill's brother Jim, a sports announcer for KCBS in Los Angeles, asked Dickerson to be on his show the day after gaining 215 yards against the Oilers to set the record. On the drive downtown, he flicked on the cartoons, absolutely his greatest passion. If all goes well, the Saturday morning lineup may soon include Dickerson, in animation, in "Eric Dickerson and his Pals."

"I get to do my own voice," he said.

Dickerson loves the attention, because, just two years ago, he had almost none of it. He was splitting time with Craig James as running back at SMU and watching the Walkers and Warners and Roziers of the world win the prizes and magazine covers.

"It's something I wanted," he said. "I wanted to be known."

Robinson, who wanted him for Southern Cal out of high school, tried to follow Dickerson's college career from afar.

"SMU was stuck on probation and off TV, so I never saw him play in college," he said.

So Dickerson arrived in L.A. as a No. 1 draft choice with a four-year, $2.2-million contract and immediately embarked on a rampage. On the field, and off. All the publicity you'd ever want, and more.

"When I wanted it in college, I didn't get it," he said. "Now I'm getting it and sometimes I get too much of it."

Recently, stories surfaced that he was hearing "voices" predicting his performance or the outcome of games.

"Don't make me look like a fool," he said, laughing with reporters after practice this week. "No, I have not heard any voices. You guys are going to get me hauled off by a guy in a white suit."

He wasn't laughing last week about a report in a local paper saying he was demanding $1 million a year. He denied that and will not speak to the reporter who wrote it.

"He's a pretty self-contained person," Robinson said. "When he doesn't like something, he'll get up and leave. When he gets bored by a conversation, he'll change the subject or get up."

Hill, one of Dickerson's best friends, caught more passes with the Lions than he does here. This season, the Rams rushed for 700 more yards than they threw; the Chicago Bears were the only other NFL team with more rushing than passing yardage.

"If he were arrogant, I don't think I would get the pleasure, the excitement, out of blocking for him," Hill said. "It's almost as exciting for me making a good block and watching him split the defense all the way as catching the ball."

Often, he and Dickerson will walk out of the huddle trading last-second ideas on which way Dickerson will run behind Hill's block.

Robinson likes to call his football philosophy, as practiced on the sodden Rams' training field this week, an "environment for running."

Dickerson is just a creature of his environment.

He dresses for war, wearing prescription goggles, oversized mouthpiece, flak jacket and a cage-like face mask. "If they make it, I wear it," he said.

Injuries scare him. Last summer, free safety Nolan Cromwell leveled him during a drill. He was flat on his back for nearly half an hour; no one, including himself, wanted him to move.

"If I'm able to walk, that's all I want," Dickerson said he thought. "I'll give up football. That's fine."

When he got to the hospital, the injury was diagnosed as a sprained neck and he went home.

He isn't a punishing runner. "He runs so smooth that you tend not to see the power," Robinson said. "People watch him the first time and say he's not running -- until they just see him glide by everyone else."

Is it happening too fast for Dickerson? A year ago, unsure how to spend his money, he lived in a cheap apartment and didn't immediately acquire expensive things. Now, he has the three-bedroom house, a Porsche and, of course, a Ram Charger. Last year, he bought Rolex watches for his linemen.

It's a reflection of how the football world feels about Dickerson that Simpson treated the record-breaking with nonchalance, something Jim Brown clearly did not do this year when Walter Payton and Franco Harris were chasing him.

This week, a full-page ad paid for by Adidas, the company that keeps Dickerson in shoes, appeared in the paper. That was nice, Dickerson said, but Payton got an expensive European sports car from Kangaroo, his shoe company.

"Walter gets a Lamborghini and they bring me a $60 cake," he said, starting to laugh. "On top of that, they bring me a carrot cake. I hate carrot cake.

"I was really disappointed. I think Adidas can do a little better.

"I hope they will later."