Deion Sanders: Fit, 50 & Flying High

It’s hard to believe ex-pro football and pro baseball player, Deion Sanders is turning 50 today. given how youthful he still seems on the NFL Network and CBS Sports sets during football season. Deion has had a long and successful career in sports. In fact, Sanders is the only player to play in World Series & Super Bowl. Two-times in the Super Bowl, eight times in the Pro Bowl and he’s a Football Hall-of-famer too.

Some consider Sanders the greatest cover corner in NFL history. Even more say he was one of the top three punt returners in history.

With all that success, Deion wasn’t happy. So much so that he tried to commit suicide in 1997.

When his marriage was crumbling, his father was dying and everything seemed to be falling apart. “You’re on the run, trying to reach out and hold on to something desperate,” Sanders said.

“The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. And he was trying to murder me, and I was about to let him do so. And there came that fatal attempt.”

Sanders said he tried to kill himself by driving his car off a cliff when he was playing baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.

“I attempted suicide, but God had his hands on me,” Sanders said. “I ran the car off the cliff, and it was like a 40 . . . 30-foot drop. The car went down and hit and there wasn’t a scratch on me or on the car.”

Sanders estimated he was driving “about 65 or 70 mph” at the time.

“You try to fulfill your time and your needs,” he said. “I was just empty. I tried cars, jewelry, clothes, women, money. . . . Everything, nothing could fulfill me.

It was after the crash that Sanders turned his life around and found faith in God. “I know who I am, what I am, where I’m going and how to get there.”

Out of his 12 seasons in the NFL, five of those seasons were spent with the Falcons and one Super Bowl season with the 49ers. It was after the 49ers that Sanders signed with the Cowboys in ‘95, and while his first season with Dallas was delayed as he recovered from surgery, “Primetime” didn’t waste time building up his highlight reel.

While playing for the Cowboys, he had four of his six career punt returns for touchdowns, two of his nine career interception returns for touchdowns, and four of his 13 career fumbles returned for touchdowns. Sanders also was a part-time wide receiver, and had by far his most effective season on the flanks in ‘96, when he caught 36 passes for 475 yards and a touchdown while playing cornerback full-time.

(Young Deion Sanders / Photo credit: YouTube.com screenshot)

The eight-time Pro Bowler was released in a salary camp move before the 2000 season.

Sanders went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 after playing in 2000 with the Redskins, retiring for three years, and then playing two more seasons with the Ravens. He also played Major League Baseball with the Yankees, Braves, Reds, Giants and Reds again.

During the 1989 season, he hit a major league home run and scored a touchdown in the NFL in the same week, the only player to ever do so.

In four games of the 1992 World Series, Sanders batted .533 with 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 doubles, and 1 RBI while playing with a broken bone in his foot. Despite Sanders’s performance, the Braves ultimately lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.

In 1997, Sanders finished 2nd in the NL with 56 stolen bases in 115 games while with the Cincinnati Reds before leaving baseball for three years.

Sanders, an outfielder, had a .263 career average with 39 home runs and 186 stolen bases.

So what is Sanders up to now? He’s a NFL commentator, a businessman, a school owner and a motivational speaker. Yeah, he’s doing a lot in “retirement.” The key to accomplishing so much in his lifetime, is belief, Sanders says.

“I live by and teach a saying that I coined at Florida State: ‘You Gotta Believe!,’” writes Sanders in a blog post. “There’s no easier way to put it. You cannot ACHIEVE if you do not BELIEVE! Believe means “to have confidence in the TRUTH”. When you believe in something it gives you CONFIDENCE. People who lack belief will always mistake confidence for arrogance. I’ve always said…