Friday, October 9, 2009

Thanks, But No Thanks

When Deion Sanders played defensive back in the NFL, he made life miserable for wide receivers. He's keeping that streak alive today.

Sanders has become a mentor to many young football players coming out. He holds a Deion camp to prepare players for the NFL Draft and he invites different players in college and the pros to his home for convivial activities. In this process, players have grown to trust Deion's counsel as that which is in their best interest. They might want to rethink that.

Two different players, both wide receivers, have made the news recently for their involvement with Sanders and is wasn't good news in either instance.

Well, it was good news for 49er first round pick Michael Crabtree in that he finally signed his contract to end the longest holdout of this year's NFL draft picks. The bad news for Crabtree is the he got about the same amount of money he would have gotten if he had just signed back before the season like every other draft pick did.

Now Crabtree comes to a 49ers team that has been successful without him, he's never played in an NFL style offense before, and he's over a month behind in learning the San Francisco playbook. He's essentially destroyed his rookie season and burned any number of advertising opportunities, plus he has to rebuild his soiled reputation with the fans. All because Sanders (amongst others in his group) told Crabtree he was worth more money than what he was slotted to get as the tenth pick of the draft.

Gee, thanks for the advice Deion.

Now we find out that Deion may have inadvertently ruined another player's year when Oklahoma State star receiver Dez Bryant lost his college eligibility due to involvement with Sanders. Bryant was the top offensive threat at Oklahoma State and a top ten draft pick. Now he leaves the Cowboys in a ditch for the rest of this season and may have injured his draft stock since NFL teams pay so much attention to character issues these days.

Sanders doesn't take the full blame on this because Bryant is the one who lied to NCAA investigators who asked if he had dinner with Deion. Bryant thought it was a violation of some sort, so he lied and said he hadn't. Deion confirmed they did. It was a panic move by Bryant and a stupid move too.

But does a player really lose an entire year of eligibility because he said he was somewhere else? Is Bryant really the only player that has ever lied about stuff to avoid getting into trouble? And if Deion is such a mentor to these guys, wouldn't that little tidbit have been brought up?

If Bryant only had dinner with Sanders and got ruled ineligible for simply lying about it, that is truly an unfortunate occurrence. But it's possible that there were other people in the room aside from Bryant (like agents who are barred from speaking to college players).

It may never be proven if Deion was simply mentoring a young kid who is eventually going to be in the NFL, or if he had something more selfish in mind. Either way, two young players have had involvement with Sanders and both of them have to clean up a mess.

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