Driving back from Florio Jr.’s middle-school football game on Thursday night (they lost, 33-20, to a team that included a couple of guys who shave . . . three times a day) while trying to get home in time for the start of the Vikings-Saints game while also trying to obey all (or at least most) traffic laws, I listened to the simulcast of NFL Network’s Total Access on Sirius NFL Radio.
Rich Eisen led a discussion with Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk regarding Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, and Deion Sanders offered up this strong take regarding Haynesworth: “What is wrong with this kid? Marshall, whatever happened to the day when we got paid and we felt like we had a responsibility, not only to the organization but to our teammates to allow them to know that, man, I earned this money, matter of fact I should be paid more than this and I’m gonna prove it to not only those guys but the fans and my family? Whatever happened to that day?”
Though we’ve tried in the wake of last year’s Michael Crabtree fiasco to look to the good that Deion brought to the field and now brings to NFL Network broadcasts, he has ignored that he once pulled a very similar stunt — to the same team!
In 2000, Sanders signed a multi-year deal with the Redskins. He received an $8 million signing bonus. After the first year, the Redskins fired head coach Norv Turner and hired Marty Schottenheimer. Like Haynesworth after the switch from Jim Zorn to Mike Shanahan, Deion didn’t want to play for Schottenheimer, even though that signing bonus gave Deion a responsibility to show up for work in 2001, and beyond.
Eventually, the Redskins and Sanders worked out a deal in which he kept most of his signing bonus (even though when it was paid the idea was he’d play more than a year), and Deion agreed to retire from the NFL.
Amazingly, Deion tried only one year later to renege on the agreement and unretire to join the Oakland bandwagon for a Super Bowl run. With Schottenheimer gone, the Redskins agreed to release Sanders from the reserve-retired list. But since the move came after the trading deadline, Deion had to pass through waivers.
Coincidentally, Schottenheimer was coaching the Chargers. And Schottenheimer’s new team claimed his contract. And Schottenheimer’s message to Deion may have been this: “Whatever happened to the day when we got paid and we felt like we had a responsibility not only to the organization but
to our teammates to allow them to know that, man, I earned this money,
matter of fact I should be paid more than this and I’m gonna prove it to
not only those guys but the fans and my family?