Deion Sander was one of a kind. He displayed the rare athleticism that is witnessed once every generation. Possessing abounding energy and unparalleled speed, Sanders routinely accomplished feats that none of his peers in professional sports could accomplish.
Many consider Deion to be the best cornerback to ever play in the NFL. His job was to cover the fastest players on the field, and he excelled at it. In his first 6 years in the league, he intercepted 30 passes. He was the ultimate “shutdown corner”. Quarterbacks stopped throwing the ball to whomever Deion was covering, because in all likelihood, he might return the pass for a touchdown. He became the most dangerous corner in the league. In fact, Sanders was so quick to the football that QB’s stopped throwing the ball to his side of the field. If the ball was in the air, he picked out of the sky and scored. Deion Sanders is still the best ever at TD returns. He has a NFL record 19 returns for touchdowns. He is one of two men to score touchdowns in 6 different ways in the same season, the only one to score on a interception, a kick return, a punt return, rushing, receiving and a fumble recovery. He was so fast that coaches found ways to incorporate him in other parts of the game. He truly was “Primetime”.
The nickname “Primetime” found Sanders in high school, where he garnered All-State awards in football, basketball and baseball. It seemed that he was meant to be under the big lights performing at the highest stage. After scoring 30 points in a high school game, one his teammates gave him the moniker. He moved to the next stage, college, seamlessly, reaching the College World Series in just his second year as a Florida State outfielder. He performed even better in football becoming a 2-time All-American and winning the Jim Thorpe award, given to the best defensive back in the nation. And then, ”Primetime” hit the big time.
Sanders was drafted in both baseball and football. Legend surrounds his NFL combine visit. Hotheaded and super-talented, Deion did not participate in the regular workouts. NFL executives pressured him into running the 40 yard dash and putting his first class speed on display. According to the myth of “Primetime”, he showed up late and only for the 40. Sanders, allegedly never took of sweatpants ran a 4.17, which is near Olympic track speed, and ran right out of the stadium, never stopping to talk to the coaches. This was before the times were timed electronically, but there is no way he ran slower than a 4.3, which is an exceptional time. Jimmy Johnson, a former coach of Deion was the only player he’d seen that was faster than the ball, meaning that he could outrun the football in the air. He was so fast, that coaches, including Johnson couldn’t use him only on defense. Sanders became one of the last ironmen of football, playing both offense and defense (he played special teams too). The lore of Sanders gets when you hear stories from QB’s like former teammate Troy Aikman, a Hall of Famer. On a fly route, where the receiver runs straight down the field as fast as he can, Aikman saw Deion open and tried to get him the ball. The ball slipped and he knew that overthrew Deion by a country mile. Deion, of course, was so mind-bogglingly quick that he had to stop his route short and come back to the ball. On at least one occasion, he truly was faster than the ball.
In 1992, he lead Major League Baseball in triples and hit a career high .304. In that same year, he batted .400 in the NLCS and World Series and is still the only man to play in the World Series in the MLB and a Super Bowl. He’s a 2-time Super Bowl champ, by the way. He garnered 9 Pro Bowl selections on the way to those championships, 6 of them being 1st team All Pro. Neon Deion was the most dangerous and exciting corner to ever play football and he was most definitely “Primetime.”