Deion Sanders Offered His NFL Teammates Lavish Gifts If They Helped Him Score On A Return

Deion Sanders on the field

Getty Image

There is no bigger name in college football right now than Deion Sanders, who has really proven he can do it all after previously balancing careers in the MLB and NFL. During his playing days, “Prime Time” had the electric personality he’s still known for today, and you can trace some of the motivational tactics he’s harnessed as a football coach back to his younger years.

Sanders was blessed with a virtually unfair amount of talent that allowed him to be one of the few athletes who’s played multiple professional sports at the same time.

He was the fifth overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft and was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a couple of Super Bowl victories under his belt after spending 14 seasons in the league as a defensive back.

While he was never immortalized in Cooperstown, he could also hold his own on the diamond, as the man who made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 1989 played for nine seasons during a career where he became the first (and, to date, only) person to hit a home run and score a touchdown in an NFL game in the same week.

Sanders racked up close to $60 million in career earnings while playing in both of those leagues, and he was definitely the kind of guy who didn’t think twice about dropping cash on some flashy purchases—which included the luxury goods he used to give some of his NFL teammates some extra incentive to help him succeed.

Deion Sanders promised to buy his teammates lavish gifts if they helped him score a touchdown

Deion Sanders retunring a punt

Getty Image

If you keep tabs on the NFL, you’re likely aware a lot of quarterbacks have a tendency to reward the members of the offensive line for protecting them by shelling out on some pricy gifts when the Christmas season rolls around.

However, as I mentioned above, Sanders wasn’t a quarterback. While he was primarily a cornerback, his impressive speed and agility made him a force to be reckoned with when he trotted out onto the field to return punts and kickoffs; he was basically Devin Hester before Devin Hester.

Deion knew cementing his status as one of the best returners in the league meant he’d earn more money in the long run, so he wisely decided to preemptively spread the wealth by giving his blockers the chance to pick from a few envy-inducing rewards if he was able to take a kick back to the house.

I love this for a few reasons.

First off, it’s just an objectively great move by Deion who (again) liked to spend his money and have some fun. It’s hard to think of a better way to get guys in the locker room on your side.

I also love the vagueness of the guarantee. It’s safe to assume the offer stands for anyone who was on the field when he scored, but the fact that the announcers in that clip specifically mention the prizes up for grabs were reserved for “blocking people” makes me wonder if he sat down to watch the tape after the game to determine which guys actually met the qualifications.

Then, we have the prizes themselves. If you played a role in Sanders scoring a touchdown, you had three options when it came to gifts: a Gucci watch, a gold chain, or “a bunch of money.”

It’s safe to assume the first two have a set value, and while it’s likely Deion had an established sum for anyone who went with the third, I wouldn’t put it past him to simply grab whatever was in his pocket and make it rain.

His approach evolved over time, as Sanders once noted that he promised to give his blockers a Rolex if he was able to score four touchdowns in a single season during his time with the Cowboys.

That right there is the kind of guy you want to play with.