Prime Time has come to Canton – with an extra touch of gold. And a black do-rag.
Deion Sanders strutted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday sporting a pair of gold shoes to go with the gold jacket emblematic of the special company he is now a part of. At the end of his riveting acceptance speech, he placed his ubiquitous do-rag on his Hall of Fame bust.
Neon Deion indeed.
“This game,” Sanders said, “this game taught me how to be a man. This game taught me if I get knocked down, I got to get my butt back up.”
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Sanders joined Marshall Faulk in entering the hall in their first year of eligibility. Former players Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Chris Hanburger, Les Richter and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol also were enshrined before an enthusiastic crowd of 13,300 – much lower than the usual turnout. With today’s Hall of Fame game a victim of the 41/2-month NFL lockout, Fawcett Stadium was half full.
Not that Sanders needs a big audience.
The dynamic cornerback and kick returner ran off a list of people who influenced him as smoothly as he ran past opponents, whether running back kicks or interceptions.
He spoke of promising his mother she could stop working in a hospital when he became a success, and of how he created the Prime Time image at Florida State – then turned it into a persona.
A Hall of Fame persona.
“What separates us is that we expect to be great,” he said. “I expect to be great, I expect to do what had to be done. I expect to make change.”
Just as Sharpe expected to change his life as a kid who went to college with two brown grocery bags filled with his belongings.
When Sharpe headed to Savannah State, all he heard was how he was destined to fail.
“When people told me I’d never make it, I listened to the one person who said I could: me,” Sharpe said.
Faulk was voted the NFL’s top offensive player in 1999, 2000 and 2001, and was the NFL’s MVP in 2000. He was the league’s scoring leader in 2000 and ’01, made seven Pro Bowls.
The second overall draft pick in 1994, when Faulk was offensive rookie of the year, he played five seasons in Indianapolis, then his final seven for St. Louis, helping the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory in 1999.
Through tears, Faulk said, “Boy this is pretty special. … I am glad to be a part of it. This is football heaven.”
PRINCE NO MORE
New York Giants first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara is out indefinitely with a fractured bone in his left foot.
A day after signing with the Giants, Amukamara was hurt in practice Saturday night and left the field.
The Giants said that the cornerback from Nebraska fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. He will have surgery to have a screw inserted in the foot and be sidelined for an undetermined period.
Bills rookie defensive back Aaron Williams left practice with a hand injury. Williams, the team’s second-round draft pick, was to be evaluated after practice. Second-year wide receiver Donald Jones was injured earlier in the day. Linebacker Shawne Merriman was held out of practice for the second consecutive day. … Jaguars quarterback David Garrard is battling lower back pain and sidelined indefinitely.