Drafted By Atlanta Falcons
In the 1989 NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons picked Sanders early in the first round, offering him a contract that would pay him $400,000. Sanders demanded $11 million, and lengthy, often bitter negotiations followed. In the meantime, however, Sanders kept busy on the baseball field, having signed with the New York Yankees in 1988. He played about 100 games for minor league teams in the Yankees' farm system before being called up by the Yankees in June 1989 to fill in for an injured outfielder. Later that summer Sanders accepted a five-year contract from the Falcons that would pay him $4.4 million in salary and bonuses. He made his professional football debut only 24 hours after blasting a home run for the Yankees in a game against the Seattle Mariners. And a flashy debut it was. Five minutes into the game, Sanders returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown, becoming the first athlete ever to hit a home run and score a touchdown in professional games the same week. Over the next couple of years, he solidified his position as cornerback for the Falcons, winning All-Pro honors at the end of the 1991 season.
Released by the Yankees in 1990, Sanders quickly signed a contract with the Atlanta Braves. Although his contract with the Braves allowed him to play both baseball and football, Sanders soon was telling sportswriters that he wished he could focus all of his energies on baseball. Particularly irksome to Sanders was his inability to play postseason baseball because of his gridiron responsibilities. He eventually negotiated a compromise with the Falcons that kept him in football but allowed him to play postseason baseball. This cleared the way for Sanders to play in the 1992 World Series, where he batted .533 against the Toronto Blue Jays, who eventually won the championship. He missed the first three games of the football season, triggering a storm of criticism. Despite the missed games, Sanders led Pro Bowl balloting in both the cornerback and kickoff returner categories. He led the NFL with a 26.7 kickoff return average and a total of 1,067 yards.
Famous Sports StarsFootballDeion Sanders Biography - Born In Fort Myers, Florida, Drafted By Atlanta Falcons, Chronology, Leads Nfl In Interceptions - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY SANDERS: