- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 10, 2000

You've got to hand it to Deion Sanders. He appears to have a lot going for himself. He's got a winning smile, a handsome family, praises for the Almighty, 56 million smackeroos on their way to his bank account and a suit of gold (buttons, that is). He also has an incredible gridiron record and winning ways on the baseball field. If that's not enough, get this: His former teammates say really nice things about him. Sanders appears to be a Redskins' addition that can help lift the home team up from mediocrity.

Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, called Sanders "something special" and "the ultimate weapon in football" this week when he announced his acquisition of Sanders. And fans certainly hope Sanders, a gridiron talent since his days at powerhouse Florida State, proves to be more than show and tell come fall.

Sanders said he understands that. He said, at the press conference, that while "I can't apologize for being me" (and he can be flamboyant to a fault), he does understand that "you win over fans by making plays." And Redskins fans and players are used to watching the former Cowboy make plays. Big plays.

It would be quite easy to become enraptured by the hype, the likes of which Washington has not seen since, well, since, er, um, Michael Jordan joined the front office of Washington's basketball Wizards in January. Still Jordan is an athlete no longer, and sports fans quickly tired of the talk about plans for next season. Yep, it seems no athlete this side of the Potomac has generated as much feel-good media as Sanders, a player so out there he has earned two nicknames "Neon Deion" and "Prime Time."

But, and there always is a "but" when it comes to appearances, Sanders must deliver in short order because of the on-field trade-off. Sanders replaces Darrell Green, the seven-time Pro Bowler, who now will play reserve. Washington fans know well, however, that Green did more than play 17 remarkable seasons with the Redskins. He has become a leader off the field, too, by nourishing the minds and spirits of underprivileged youths.

So, Washington, let's welcome Sanders and here's hoping there's more substance to No. 21 than his flair for fashion.

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