‘Prime Time’ Sanders says good-bye to NFL

ASHBURN, Virginia, Reuters

Deion Sanders, the only man in history to play in a World Series and a Super Bowl, retired from the NFL on Friday — after reporting to the Washington Redskins’ training camp and working out a seven-figure settlement.

Sanders left Syracuse of the Class AAA International League on Thursday, reporting to the Redskins to adhere to a clause in his NFL contract.

“Prime Time” was permitted to miss training camp if he was on a major league roster on July 29.

He was signed to a minor-league deal by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 27 but has not made it back to the majors, casting doubt over his future in baseball too.

The Redskins did not reveal terms of the settlement. Last year, Sanders signed a seven-year, US$56 million contract that included an US$8 million signing bonus.

Sanders received $5.5 million of that bonus last year and was to receive the rest had he played this season. His agent, Eugene Parker, negotiated a settlement with the Redskins.

“In my discussions with Eugene Parker, it was evident from his comments that Deion Sanders did not want to play football,” Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

“With that understanding, both parties have reached a mutually beneficial agreement.

“Deion Sanders will retire as a National Football League player and a financial agreement has been reached.”

Sanders, 33, played with the Redskins last year between minor league stints with the Cincinnati Reds. It marked a return to his second sport after a two-year hiatus.

He was promoted May 1 but hit just .173 with a home run and four RBI in 32 games for the Reds. He was designated for assignment June 15 and officially released a week later.

Regarded as one of the NFL’s top cover cornerbacks, Sanders had four interceptions last year, running his career total to 48.

No player in NFL history was more dangerous than Deion in the open field. He scored 22 touchdowns — eight on interception returns, six on punt returns, three on kickoff returns, three as a receiver, one on a fumble return and one on a reverse. Those plays averaged 65 yards.

Sanders was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. He won Super Bowls with San Francisco in 1994 and Dallas in 1995.

He also played in the World Series in 1992 with the Atlanta Braves. During that postseason, he unsuccessfully bid to play football and baseball on the same day.

Sanders is a .263 hitter in parts of eight seasons. He has 39 homers, 43 triples, 168 RBI and 186 stolen bases in 641 games with the New York Yankees (1989 90), Atlanta (1991-94), Cincinnati (1994-95, 1997) and the San Francisco Giants.