"Prime Time" returns

Sideline Scholars

When Deion Sanders announced to the world Sept. 1st that he was back in the NFL, people in the whole league felt shivers run down their spines.

Listed at a generous 6 feet, 1 inch, the 13th-year speedster has already shown he's ready to ball with the big boys again. Now the only question is, just how good will he be?

Clocking a 4.38 40-yard dash just a week before returning to the Baltimore Ravens, Sanders is proving to the world one play at a time that he will be just as good as when he last stepped off the field.

Listening to all the negative propaganda and doubters surrounding his return to the turf is surprising. Sure, even "Prime Time" can lose a few steps, but some people forget - he has only been out of football for about two years, and he also had a lot more speed to lose than most people.

Other doubters claim he's simply too old at 37. First, ask any pro athlete and they will tell you the thing they attempt to protect first and foremost is their ego. Ask any pro football player what the No. 1 thing is in Deion Sanders' life, and they will all tell you the same thing: "Deion."

For a man who has lived his most glorious moments in life in football pads, he seems like a young kid in a candy store all over again. In his press conference he was as brash as ever, even going as far as to claim the Ravens are now contenders with him on the sidelines.

"I've never made anything worse; every team I've joined I've made better," he said.

To some this may seem excessive, but anyone who knows Time knows he lets his play speak just as much as his actions when he steps onto the field.

ESPN interviewed him this weekend and he said that one of the first things he would do is high-step into the end zone after picking off a pass. He wouldn't have come back if he couldn't out-play all the young guns, and the 4.38 40 should more than speak to that. He's at full strength, folks.

To all the other doubters, I pose this question: When was the last time someone referred to himself as "Prime" in third person? That is all you need to know about this guy. He is brash, cocky, and he makes plays. To be exact, he makes lots of plays, when they count and when they hurt the other teams the most.

For most of us, Prime Time is eerily similar to a former D.C.-area comeback player. He wore 23 and he competed at a high level, even when he hit the age of 40. Deion has a few advantages on MJ - three years, lots of speed, and a team around him that could probably compete without his help, but with his talents could easily win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

As Sanders told the media, he's never made a team worse, and he always adds something positive to the effort. Although this is a little bit of a farce, it has a lot of truth in it. All his past teammates have reported liking him as a teammate, and there has never been a doubt about the level of ability that he brings to the field.

Boasting eight Pro-Bowl appearances and a 1994 NFL defensive player of the year award, he is widely recognized as the first cornerback to ever be a "shutdown" corner. It will certainly be interesting to see if QBs still are afraid to throw at him. Either way, one thing is for sure: he's baaaccckkkk!

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