Deion Sanders was a classic “look at me” player for 14 seasons in the NFL. Sanders dubbed himself “Prime Time,” loaded up on gold chains, provided loquacious interviews, flossed at all times and won a pair of Super Bowl titles.
Now Prime Time is taking a few moments from his Oxygen network television show and his job as an analyst on the NFL Network to mentor Pacman Jones, the Cowboys’ latest problem child.
Sanders gravitates toward NFL screw-ups.
“This is what I do. This is my calling,” Sanders told a throng of reporters after a Cowboys OTA session at Valley Ranch this week.
Sanders is working with Pacman to get his game tight on and off the field, but I’m curious about his motives. After all, Prime Time is a self-promoter.
“I’m passionate about taking all these guys up under my wing because no one did it for me,” Sanders said. “I don’t want them to make the same stupid mistakes that I made. I don’t want them to repeat the cycle.”
Sanders is helping the process by training Jones at his home, but even Prime needs to lose some of the excuse-making. I had a hard time buying Sanders’ explanation for Jones’ off-the-field issues.
“Money was a true force to bring a lot of problems and growing up in the inner city like he’s grown up,” Sanders said in a very preachy way, “not having a male figure to say yes or no…. to right and wrong.”
How many inner-city kids from single-parent homes get a chance to play football at a major university, get drafted No. 6 overall and sign a multimillion-dollar contract?
Seems like Sanders got pretty far without a dad. Pacman Jones is not the only player who came from tough circumstances, so let’s throw away the “daddy wasn’t there for me” sob stories.
It would be nice if Jones became another turnaround story. Many players have reclaimed their names in Big D: Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Tank Johnson, Charles Haley and Terrell Owens.
Can Sanders make Pacman the next man on the list? I don’t know. I hope his work is not in vain.
Newy Scruggs is the sports director at NBC 5.