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Deion Sanders, aka Prime Time and Neon Deion, is a former baseball and football player who is a current football head coach at the University of Colorado Boulder. Sanders was an outfielder for nine seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), and he played for the New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Francisco Giants. His achievements in baseball gained him two titles in the Super Bowl and an appearance in the World Series. He is the only athlete to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series to date.
He also played in the National Football League (NFL) for 14 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and the Baltimore Ravens.
Deion Sanders was born, Deion Luwynn Sanders Sr., to Mims Sanders and Connie Wright on August 9th, 1967, in Fort Myers, Florida. He was abandoned by his mother when he was 2 years old. Deion spent his grades 9 through 12 in North Fort Myers High School, where he was a letterman and an all-state honoree in baseball, basketball, and football.
In 1985, the Florida High School Association All-Century Team selected the top 33 players in the state’s 100-year history of high school, and Sanders was named. In the sixth round of the Major League Baseball draft of that same year, he was selected by the Kansas City Royals, although he didn’t sign with them.
He enrolled in Florida State University, played football and baseball, and was a member of the track team of the Florida State Seminoles. He began in the Seminoles’ secondary in his first year, played outfield for the baseball team, and came fifth in the nation. He also led the track and field team to a conference championship.
In 1986, Deion Sanders played for head coach Bobby Bowden and was a third-team All-American in which he intercepted 14 passes, of which three were in bowl games. He broke Fred Biletnikoff’s return record by one yard when he returned one interception 100 yards for a touchdown. He was unanimously named two-time All-American cornerback in 1987 and 1988 and won the Jim Thorpe Award in 1988.
Professional Career in Baseball
Sanders played baseball part-time for nine years, mainly playing left and center field positions in 641 games. When he didn’t sign with the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 draft, his next opportunity to play Major League Baseball (MLB) came in 1988 when the New York Yankees drafted him, and he signed with them on June 22nd, 1988.
However, he only got to play in the minor leagues and open the 1989 season with the Albany-Colonie Yankees of the Class AA Eastern League. He was finally promoted to the major leagues and spent the summer with the Columbus Clippers of the Class AAA International League.
On May 31st, 1989, Sanders debuted in MLB. He hit a home run in the major league in 1989 and scored an NFL touchdown that week. He and Bo Jackson were the leading athletes who played multiple sports during his time. However, they never faced off in a professional game until 1990, when they met on the diamond five times. The most notable of their face-off happened on July 17th, 1990, in what was described as “The Bo and Prime Time Show.”
Professional Football Career
Draft and Atlanta Falcons
Deion Sanders ran a 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds at the 1989 NFL Scouting Combine, and he was the fifth overall player picked by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1989 NFL Draft. He played for the team until 1993, intercepting 24 passes with which a career-high seven is included. He converted three of the 24 passes he intercepted into touchdowns.
For the 5-year period that Sanders spent playing for the Falcons, he scored ten touchdowns: three kick returns, two receptions, two punt returns, and three defensives. He is the only one of the top five selected players in the 1989 draft inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame who didn’t begin and end his career with the team that picked him.
San Francisco 49ers
Sanders signed with the 49ers for the 1994 season, and this was his best season as a pro football player. He made six interceptions and returned them, earning him an NFL-best and a 303-yard former NFL record and three touchdowns. He was also the first player in NFL history to return two interceptions for a dash of at least 90 yards.
He was voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. In the championship game between the 49ers and the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX, Sanders made an interception in the fourth quarter, earning him his first championship ring.
Sanders signed a seven-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys after his successful season with the 49ers. He was the highest-paid defensive player during that period. He remained on the sidelines due to arthroscopic surgery, and his debut game with the Cowboys was against the Atlanta Falcons, which they won.
He assisted the Cowboys in winning their third championship title against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl XXX. He played four more seasons with the Cowboys and earned a Pro Bowl selection each season. A salary cap freed him from the Cowboys on June 2nd, 2000.
After being released from his contract with the Cowboys, he was signed almost immediately by the Washington Redskins for a 7-year contract. However, he only played for one year, after which he retired. The Redskins waived him from the retired list to participate in the 2002 – 2003 NFL playoffs, and if he hadn’t been claimed during the waiver, he would have been able to sign with any team as a free agent.
He came out of retirement in 2004 and signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens. In the same year, he scored the ninth interception return touchdown of his career against the Buffalo Bills. He remained in Baltimore in 2005, and when the Ravens didn’t qualify for the post-season, he decided to retire permanently.
After his retirement, Neon Deion worked as an NFL analyst and later became head coach of the Prime Prep Academy, of which he was the co-founder. In 2015, he was hired to be the head coach of Triple-A Academy for two seasons. He became the offensive coordinator of Trinity High School in 2017, allowing him to coach his sons Shedeur and Shilo.
Sanders became the 21st head coach of the Jackson State Tigers (a team in the second level of the NCAA football, the Division I Football Championship Subdivision) on September 21st, 2020. He led them to a winning record of 11 games and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) title.
University of Colorado Boulder
On December 3rd, 2022, Deion Sanders was named the head football coach at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Deion Sanders has been married two times. His first wife, who bore him two children, was Carolyn Chambers from 1989 to 1998. His second wife was Pilar Biggers-Sanders from 1999 to 2013. She gave him three children.
Deion Sanders Net Worth
Aside from baseball, Sanders also has a musical career. His first album, Prime Time, was released in 1994 through Hammer’s Bust It Records label. He also published an autobiography with J.M. Black titled Power, Money, and Sex: How Success Almost Ruined My Life 1998. Deion Sanders net worth is $70 million.
Sanders intercepted 53 passes during his career, recovered four fumbles, returned 155 kickoffs, caught 60 passes, and scored 22 touchdowns: 9 interception returns, six punt returns, three kickoff returns, three receives, and one fumble recovery.