Cornerback Deion Sanders a Raider? That notion is getting seemingly less farfetched.
Sanders is two years removed from playing and has since become a studio analyst for CBS television. According to ESPN.com, Sanders is expected to visit the Raiders facility in Alameda sometime Monday.
Sanders retired after the 2000 season and played 11 years in the NFL with Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington. Sanders added that the chance to add a third Super Bowl ring to his collection, with an Oakland club that has now won a third straight AFC West title, was a tempting scenario.
“Like I've always said, I could roll out of bed tomorrow morning, and be able to cover,” Sanders said Sunday on the CBS pregame show. “That will never go away. What was missing was my desire to do it. I mean, I left the game on my own (terms), because the fire wasn't there. But here's a team in the playoffs, with a real chance to go to the Super Bowl, and an owner who always wants to win. I always felt like I might look good in that black and silver (uniform), you know?"
The Redskins, the last team Sanders played, still have his rights but owner Daniel Snyder said he would not block the entrance for Sanders to return to football. Sanders played on two Super Bowl championship teams, San Francisco (1994) and Dallas (1995).
Signing the seven-time Pro Bowler appears to be more than just shock value since Oakland is missing its top three cornerbacks. Charles Woodson, who had missed the previous two games because of a cracked right fibula, played briefly in the first quarter against Denver on Sunday but changed out of his uniform at halftime. Woodson’s availability, and effectiveness in the postseason is unclear.
Tory James, has missed the past two games after having surgery to stabilize a broken bone in his right leg. Phillip Buchanon, a first-round draft pick, is on injured reserve. Oakland started Terrance Shaw and Clarence Love for the second consecutive week Sunday in a 28-16 win over Denver.
If Sanders becomes a Raider, it would probably be an incentive laden deal that would count against the salary cap in future years.
“If Al Davis feels it’s a good goal, then it’s a good goal,” Oakland running back Tyrone Wheatley said. “I’m one of the guys that is behind the scenes. I will accept him and welcome him with open arms. If he can add chemistry to the team and not deviate from it, I welcome him. How can you not accept a guy like Deion?”
Vince D’Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org