Don’t call it a come back. He’s been here for years andthen some. Twelve years, two Super Bowls and seven Pro Bowlsto be exact. And he said his age and previous injuries won’tstop him on the field.
After three years of retirement, DeionSanders, one of the greatest cornerbacks to high-step his way tothe end zone and into NFL history, signed a one-year contractTuesday with the Baltimore Ravens. The deal is worth about$1.5 million and could grow up to $3 million with incentives.
However, some say the catch is the positionSanders will play. He won’t be the centerpiece of the Ravens’defense as a cornerback, the position he played most of hiscareer. He will be filling the shoes of veteran Dale Carter,nickel back (fifth defensive back), who is out for the season witha blood clot.
Because of his age and the Super Bowl buzzsurrounding the Ravens, Sanders’s return is raising brows andturning heads. He not only passed his physical, but histrainer clocked him running the 40-yard dash in 4.38seconds—after a workout.
At Tuesday’s press conference, held at theteam’s training facility, the player also known as “Prime Time” forhis flashy on-field antics and his neon-colored modern zoot suits,revealed the most compelling reason for his return—the desire towin.
“I’m here for a Super Bowl. I’m not hereto kick it. I’m here to win,” Sanders told the Baltimore Sunat the press conference. “I’m here to help my little brothersfulfill their dreams. That’s the only reason to come.”
The “little brothers” Sanders spoke of are nowalso his teammates, Ray Lewis, linebacker, and Corey Fuller,cornerback. After hearing that Carter would be out for theseason, Lewis called his friend, Sanders and told him he wantedSanders in a Ravens uniform.
“This man has everything,” Lewis said ofSanders who spent most of his retirement as a TV sportsanalyst. Lewis told the Washington Post, “He has money, hehas rings, he has fame, he has all of that. The mathematicsto it all is that’s he coming back to have fun and to play footballwith his friends.”
Sanders will most likely miss the Ravens’sfinal preseason game Thursday against the New York Giants, but theteam’s coach Brian Billick said Sanders would be ready for theSept. 12 season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
“He’s here early enough for him to be animpact for us at Cleveland,” said Billick to the Baltimore Sun.”Anytime you add a Hall of Famer to your organization, it’s nothingbut a positive impact.”
So far, Ravens’ preseason record is 2-1 andSanders is aware of the less than perfect season he had in 2000with the Washington Redskins. His leg, toe, and foot injuriesdid not give him the conclusion to the career that manyexpected.
“I’m not going to say I missed this game,” hetold Sun reporters. “But I will say there was some businessunfinished.”