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At the 1989 Combine, Deion Sanders told the Giants where to stick their test

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George Young, the longtime General Manager of the Giants, was famous for his obsession with testing players. Young is credited with making the Wonderlic test part of the standard Scouting Combine experience, and Young also implemented a two-hour written test that was supposed to serve as a psychological assessment of prospective players.

When Deion Sanders saw that two-hour test, he knew it was not for him.

Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback who went fifth overall in the 1989 draft, said on NFL Network that when he was at the Scouting Combine, he had a very brief interaction with the Giants that he put to an end when he saw the test they wanted him to take.

“They sat me down and gave me a thick book,” Sanders recalled. “I mean, this thing was thicker than a phone book. I said, ‘What’s this?’ They said, ‘This is our test that we give all the players.’ I said, ‘Excuse me, what pick do you have in the draft?’ They said, I think, 10th [actually 18th]. I said, ‘I’ll be gone before then. I’ll see y’all later. I ain’t got time for this.’ That’s a true story.”

Sanders was far from the only person who had a problem with the test the Giants forced on players: When coach Dan Reeves left the Giants at the end of the 1996 season, he blamed Young’s test for many of the team’s personnel failures, saying that he just fundamentally disagreed with Young wasting everyone’s time with such a long exam when there was so much more important information that could be gleaned from simply watching the player’s college tape.

“My contention is that a young man in college who goes to a Combine and has to go through all kinds of tests in the Combine and then you ask him to sit down and take a two-hour test, he’s not that excited,” Reeves said. “So how valid is a two-hour test?

Sanders recognized that to him, it wasn’t valid at all, because there was no way he was going to fall far enough in the draft for the Giants to take him anyway. It’s actually a little surprising that more star players don’t do what Sanders did. If you’re confident that what you put on tape shows you’re a great player, you’re free to respectfully tell teams that you’re not going to allow them to poke and prod you, physically or mentally. Sanders knew that his greatness on the field gave him the freedom to tell the Giants where to stick their test.

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63 Responses to “At the 1989 Combine, Deion Sanders told the Giants where to stick their test”
  1. terripet says: Mar 6, 2017 5:09 PM

    Deion, once a punk always a punk

  2. rexgrossmanisgoat says: Mar 6, 2017 5:11 PM

    Deion, once a punk always a punk
    ——-

    Deion, once a hall-of-famer, always a hall-of-famer

  3. fanboyarmy says: Mar 6, 2017 5:13 PM

    Love this story. I am sure it has been polished many times to Prime’s self promotional standards.

  4. weepingjebus says: Mar 6, 2017 5:13 PM

    “Am I the only one around here who gives a **** about the rules? Mark it zero!” — George Young

  5. 4sacroc says: Mar 6, 2017 5:14 PM

    That’s awesome. And Deion backed it up with his stellar play.

    Punk? No.

    But he definitely Punk’d Giants.

  6. rufustfireflyjr says: Mar 6, 2017 5:16 PM

    Refusing to take the test probably said as much or more about the subject as the test results would have. Kinda like the 1980 U.S. Olympic goalie, Jim Carrey, not taking Coach Herb Brooks’ test, as portrayed in the movie “Miracle.”

  7. adams35 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:19 PM

    Makes me like Deion that much more…. DS is the best….

  8. omegalh says: Mar 6, 2017 5:22 PM

    Deion is the only trash talker I ever liked. Still is. He is a cut above.

  9. zoellner25 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:22 PM

    I can picture him saying this, just like he said it. Gold.

  10. dansardo says: Mar 6, 2017 5:22 PM

    The only thing you can be absolutely sure of
    Is that sander’s stories are mostly an exaggeration on the very best day.

  11. jagsfanugh says: Mar 6, 2017 5:26 PM

    Jalen Ramsey isn’t the same type of player but will one day join his FSU brothern in the Hall of Fame…IMO.

  12. JSpicoli says: Mar 6, 2017 5:26 PM

    If he had not avoided all those tackles he could not have made it to the 49ers and that briefcase of cash under the table.

    I don’t hate him, but he is not some kind of Hershel Walker in the character department.

  13. thermo321 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:26 PM

    Who would ever sit there for a 2 hour test for one team? Maybe if it was a test that all teams used then you could see taking it but for one team that has one pick in the 1st round? Forget it. Maybe Pat Ncnally would have taken it but that’s it

  14. edelmanfanclub says: Mar 6, 2017 5:28 PM

    Its not fair to make them take a test. Most of the probably havent taken one since their junior year of high school.

  15. pamperpro says: Mar 6, 2017 5:30 PM

    I could hear his raspy voice in my head as I read his quotes.

  16. knowspinzone says: Mar 6, 2017 5:37 PM

    They only wanted to give Deion that test when he failed the 2+2 math test.

  17. gbpackfan3 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:39 PM

    Packers picked Tony Mandarich right before Deion, Barry n Derrick Thomas…top 3 worst selections in NFL History

  18. thephttroll says: Mar 6, 2017 5:41 PM

    It was Jim Craig in 1980. Jim Carrey the other goalie was born in 1974.

  19. RandyinRoxbury says: Mar 6, 2017 5:41 PM

    George Young has always given me the creeps.
    Football versions of Dilbert are just not cool.

  20. dor1963 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:45 PM

    I will never forget his line on draft day: “if the Lions draft me, they will have to put me on layaway.”

  21. dietrich43 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:48 PM

    Did Leon Sandcastle take the test?

  22. drednot says: Mar 6, 2017 5:51 PM

    How come we can never see a sampling of some of the questions on these tests?

  23. newjerseygiants says: Mar 6, 2017 5:54 PM

    The problem was that he couldn’t read beyond 3rd. grade level.

  24. bullcharger says: Mar 6, 2017 5:59 PM

    The purpose of tests like that is to prove that someone is willing to grind it out to make an NFL team and they they will be successful in the day to day grind of the NFL. For a top natural talent like Deion it isn’t necessary. You would take him and some reasonable amount of diva behavior regardless of the test.

  25. kmossg says: Mar 6, 2017 6:00 PM

    This happens all the time in the form of guys skipping the combine completely, esp top quarterbacks.

  26. dickshotdogs says: Mar 6, 2017 6:05 PM

    That’s all fine and well, but he still can’t tackle.

  27. anonymousnevermindfishdeath says: Mar 6, 2017 6:05 PM

    Well, you know what? I like that my team is careful, and has quality players – NY football Giants – class of the league!

  28. johnthehillboy says: Mar 6, 2017 6:10 PM

    I heard the leak for this story was Ruben Foster

  29. 4sacroc says: Mar 6, 2017 6:10 PM

    anonymousnevermindfishdeath says:
    Mar 6, 2017 6:05 PM

    Well, you know what? I like that my team is careful, and has quality players – NY football Giants – class of the league!

    =========

    Nothin’ says ‘class’ like: Odell Beckham!!!!!!!

  30. nyneal says: Mar 6, 2017 6:16 PM

    You look up arrogance in the dictionary, and it has a picture of Deion avoiding tackling someone.
    He has always believed he’s better than everyone else at everything.
    Deion was a great cover corner and a great return man — no question. But he’s a lousy commentator because he thinks he’s some kind of god.
    I wish all the sports networks would put a ban on hiring any former NFL players as commentators or announcers. For every good one, you have dozens of egotistical morons.

  31. navyvandal says: Mar 6, 2017 6:24 PM

    Yet the Giants won a year later with the GOAT Belichick as DC!

  32. kneedragr says: Mar 6, 2017 6:28 PM

    Thats awesome, put those jokers in their place. I doubt their test would have told them to trade anything they could to get him, that he would be a consistent game changing force for a decade and a really solid player for another. So whats the point of giving it to him?

  33. joe400e says: Mar 6, 2017 6:34 PM

    Love to hear stories like this. It helps us fans understand the real reasons why certain players always get psyched to play against particular teams.

  34. vikingdoode says: Mar 6, 2017 6:35 PM

    Wonderlic has nothing to do with althetic play… pretty much all the HOFers are dumb as far as Rocket Science crap! They should rid of that test

    bravo to Dion for saying I AINT GOT NO TIME FOR THAT

  35. bartpkelly says: Mar 6, 2017 6:37 PM

    The Giants could have traded up for him. Deion didn’t recognize that or didn’t care. Any written test that long in the NFL should be for referees and even then they should be watching more film in real time to practice.

  36. walker1191 says: Mar 6, 2017 6:38 PM

    Imagine if Reuben Foster had been asked to take that test.

  37. staffordwives9999 says: Mar 6, 2017 6:43 PM

    Deion might not have been able to complete page one NAME______

  38. skinnypigeon says: Mar 6, 2017 6:44 PM

    Nowhere in this does Sanders say he told them where to stick the test.

  39. thermo321 says: Mar 6, 2017 6:44 PM

    The Giants took a center with that 18th pick that started 129 games out of 144 in 9 seasons so it didn’t work out so bad

  40. streetyson says: Mar 6, 2017 6:48 PM

    omegalh says:
    Mar 6, 2017 5:22 PM
    Deion is the only trash talker I ever liked. Still is. He is a cut above.
    ————
    Agree, except he ain’t really talking “trash” if he can actually match it with his dash.

  41. bencoates57 says: Mar 6, 2017 6:50 PM

    Nothing says class like aiding and abetting a draft dodger

  42. abninf says: Mar 6, 2017 6:53 PM

    The need to give them lie detector tests and ask them about various crimes.

  43. dolphan13 says: Mar 6, 2017 6:56 PM

    Deon will always take a back seat to Bo Jackson. While Bo was getting all the attention and publicity Deon was jumping up and down trying to get noticed. It wasn’t until Bo left that people started to pay any real attention. Bo knows how to upstage Deon.

  44. tonebones says: Mar 6, 2017 7:02 PM

    I love Deion. I call him the ring bearer. He put rings on a lot of fingers. I am pretty old school. I don’t like hot dogs. I don’t like players that dance. But Deion was in his own class. There are only a few human beings that have ever walked the earth that are the athlete he is. He did everything with a smile on his face. He wasn’t a poor sport about it either. All his teammates and opponents respected him. Deion was the man, and he still is. He’s one of the few athletes I’ll stop and listen to when they’re talking. He’s right up there with Jim Brown, Ali, Willie Mays, Tiger Woods, and Joe Montana.

  45. harrisonhits2 says: Mar 6, 2017 7:06 PM

    “Deion, once a punk always a punk”

    You never get tired of being wrong, do you Terripet?

  46. nfl1818 says: Mar 6, 2017 7:21 PM

    thermo321 says:
    Mar 6, 2017 5:26 PM
    Who would ever sit there for a 2 hour test for one team? Maybe if it was a test that all teams used then you could see taking it but for one team that has one pick in the 1st round? Forget it. Maybe Pat Ncnally would have taken it but that’s it

    47 2
    ********************************
    awesome McNally reference

    you just lost half of PFT though

  47. Ralphie says: Mar 6, 2017 7:35 PM

    Wonderlic has nothing to do with althetic play… pretty much all the HOFers are dumb as far as Rocket Science crap! They should rid of that test
    ________________________________

    Maybe not, but it seems year in and year out the smartest guys on the Wonderlic test are the QBs and Offensive Lineman. Those are the two positions I would WANT to be the smartest on my team.

  48. robinyount19 says: Mar 6, 2017 7:40 PM

    Funny, I heard this exact same story about Carl Pickens years ago.

    I’d say Deion was suffering from head trauma, but he never hit anybody, so that can’t be it.

  49. nyneal says: Mar 6, 2017 8:17 PM

    tonebones says:
    Mar 6, 2017 7:02 PM
    I love Deion. I call him the ring bearer. He put rings on a lot of fingers. I am pretty old school. I don’t like hot dogs. I don’t like players that dance. But Deion was in his own class. There are only a few human beings that have ever walked the earth that are the athlete he is. He did everything with a smile on his face. He wasn’t a poor sport about it either. All his teammates and opponents respected him. Deion was the man, and he still is. He’s one of the few athletes I’ll stop and listen to when they’re talking. He’s right up there with Jim Brown, Ali, Willie Mays, Tiger Woods, and Joe Montana.

    ________________________________________

    Deion’s biggest asset was his speed. But he never made a tackle in his life.
    As for only a few athletes who have ever walked the face of the earth who were as good as he is (was), I could not disagree more.
    Deion was an excellent cover corner and terrific anytime he had the ball in his hands. No question about that. But I’ve been watching sports for over 55 years and I’ve seen plenty of athletes who were every bit as good as Deion was and plenty more who were better.
    It’s fine to praise him, but let’s keep it real. He’s not even the best DB I’ve seen play in the NFL. I’d take Ronnie Lott, Mel Blount, and Rod Woodson over him for starters. I’d take Darrell Green and Dick “Night Train” Lane over him, too.

  50. nomoreseasontix says: Mar 6, 2017 8:23 PM

    I think it’s funny that a guy blew off a team at the combine.
    It should happen more.
    Like this year with the Browns. “Why on Earth would I want to be drafted by you?”

  51. Frum Slum says: Mar 6, 2017 8:24 PM

    dor1963 says:
    Mar 6, 2017 5:45 PM
    I will never forget his line on draft day: “if the Lions draft me, they will have to put me on layaway.”

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    Yeah he shunned a few teams. The full quote…

    All along, I wanted to go to Atlanta because I understood that this moment was greater than just what happened on the football field. I knew that Atlanta was the only city that could handle a brash young athlete like me. Dallas had the first pick, and I knew they were going to draft Troy Aikman. They needed a quarterback. Green Bay was picking next. I told them I was from Florida, and I wasn’t going to play in the cold. Detroit picked third. I told them I was going to ask for so much money, they would have to put me on layaway! Kansas City was fourth, and I told them there was no way I was coming out there. That left Atlanta at number five.

  52. nhpats says: Mar 6, 2017 8:25 PM

    Watching Richard Sherman tackle reminds me a lot of Deion…..

  53. phinfan says: Mar 6, 2017 8:32 PM

    Vince Young failed the wonderlic. As a matter of fact it was never revealed how bad it was. Fitzpatrick aced it… nearly scored a 100.

    I’m pretty sure Vince Young won rookie of the year and comeback player of the year, 2 x probowler had more playoff appearances than Fitzpatrick.

    The wonderlic is a JOKE!!!

  54. flipola says: Mar 6, 2017 11:45 PM

    If a prospect did that today, he’d be blackballed.

  55. footballfan72 says: Mar 7, 2017 2:09 AM

    Might explain why all his charter schools in the DFW area failed. He’s as dumb as he is good at football

  56. cpozsgai says: Mar 7, 2017 5:45 AM

    How to make a dumb jock run like hell? Show them a pencil and a piece of paper. Unless they are asked to write “Don’t you know who I am?”
    Let’s face it, we love sports, but we know that athletes with intelligence are statistical outliers.
    Can’t blame them – when you are a football star why should you be given an exam when you were shoved through college on a wink and a nod

  57. predicatepanda says: Mar 7, 2017 6:24 AM

    weepingjebus says:
    Mar 6, 2017 5:13 PM
    “Am I the only one around here who gives a **** about the rules? Mark it zero!” — George Young
    ———————————————————–
    Bravo. Well played sir.

  58. c2excellence says: Mar 7, 2017 7:26 AM

    That’s why Deion’s high schools were so popular….no tests, just sports.

  59. bkostela says: Mar 7, 2017 8:53 AM

    If the Giants had traded up for Deion, he could have won a Super Bowl the following season.

  60. tommyribs says: Mar 7, 2017 11:26 AM

    Deion Sanders:
    One Dimensional Player
    One Dimensional Human Being

    People talk about him like he was the best corner ever.

    Sorry but he wasn’t, not even close.

    Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, Ty Law, Darrel Revis to name a few are all better Corners than Deion.

    They played every facet of the game.

  61. metalup666 says: Mar 7, 2017 1:51 PM

    “That’s all fine and well, but he still can’t tackle.”

    Actually, he could tackle very well (see when he played in college). He just chose not to in the NFL, because you can’t make money if you are hurt (he played 2 sports). Not a good excuse in my book, considering that is one of the purposes of playing on the defensive side of the ball. The best cover man ever though IMO.

  62. tangovader says: Mar 7, 2017 2:12 PM

    People talk about him like he was the best corner ever.

    Sorry but he wasn’t, not even close.

    Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, Ty Law, Darrel Revis to name a few are all better Corners than Deion.

    ———————————————

    LOLOL! Good one.

  63. ak185 says: Mar 7, 2017 4:31 PM

    As long as we promote people divas, that’s the only test we’ll ever need. Right Deion?

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