Deion Sanders recalls his NFL Draft: 'I knew that my mother would never have to work another day of her life'

Joshua Capers
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Deion Sanders was an electrifying and polarizing athlete in the late '80s.

So much so that he was drafted not just once, but three times.

The two-sport star, three if you count track, was first drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the 1985 MLB Draft. He decided not to sign with the Royals and instead went to Florida State. Fast forward to 1988, and Sanders was selected again in the MLB Draft by the New York Yankees.

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Still, Sanders returned to Tallahassee for his senior year with the football team and was named All-American for the second time before being drafted in the first round in the NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons in 1989.

Heading into this week's NFL Draft, Sanders reflected on the day the Falcons selected him fifth overall.

"That was the beginning, man, of a whole new life that I knew that my mother would never have to work another day of her life," he said. 

Sanders knew it would take more than being drafted to make that dream a reality, though. He realized that cornerbacks didn't make that much in comparison to quarterbacks, and he vowed to redefine the position and his Prime Time persona to maximize his dollar. 

"Prime is the entity that sells," Sanders previously told the Clarion Ledger. "He's the money maker."

That persona allowed him to appeal to younger generations and allowed him to profit on his off-the-field marketability.

But as far as draft day, Sanders knew he had punched his ticket to a place he had worked his whole life to get to.

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"From that day forth in '89, my mother hasn't had to work another day in her life," he said. "You know how long that's been? I know I look young, but I'm not. That's a long time, man. So that means I've been consistent. And I wanted to exhaust everything I could out of that."

While Sanders has had many ventures to capitalize on his image and likeness, it's at the age of 53 that the Pro Football Hall of Famer turned to his latest passion: Being a college football coach.

Sanders spent this past spring as the head coach at Jackson State. His Tigers finished the season 4-3 after an abrupt ending canceled their spring finale

But Sanders isn't focused on that, as he now prepares his team for the fall season. He's hoping to get his players to the draft stage some day so they can feel the same joy he did.