- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Let's talk about what's really going on between Deion Sanders and the Redskins.

On one side, you've got Deion, $8.5 million of Dan Snyder's money already stuffed in his pockets, thumbing his nose at the team and saying, "Go ahead and cut me. I don't care. When I'm done batting .172 for the Reds, I'll find me a real Super Bowl contender."

And on the other side, you've got the Redskins, already looking foolish enough for having signed Sanders in the first place, thinking: Let's leave him hanging for as long as possible, the ungrateful twerp. We don't have to sign our draft picks or add some free agents until the start of training camp, anyway. Besides, maybe he'll get beaned by Randy Johnson, undergo a personality change and decide to come back and play for free which is about all we can afford.

Deion Sanders play for the Redskins this season? You've gotta be kidding. I know the possibility has been raised in print by one Marty Schottenheimer, but Marty's just playing the game. This has nothing to do with football and everything to do with egos all of them super-sized. Deion doesn't like to be dictated to (that is, told that Kurt Schottenheimer, and not Ray Rhodes, will be calling the defensive shots this season), and Snyder and his new coach don't like to be dictated to (that is, told that Sanders will be too busy grounding out to the pitcher to attend training camp, or even minicamp).

So we have a lot of flexing and posturing and not much else. The Redskins would dearly love for Sanders to come across as the bad guy in all this for their own face-saving reasons but it's not going to happen. Snyder knew exactly what he was getting when he added Deion to his football card collection last year a total mercenary and that's exactly the way Deion has behaved. The fault, dear Danny, lies not in your star but in yourself.

Beyond that, though, it would go against all Marty Schottenheimer stands for truth, justice and the Schottenheimer way to keep Deion. I mean, if Marty can cut Larry Centers for refusing to march in lockstep, how can he kowtow to Sanders? The Neon One isn't that good not anymore, at least. (And at 34, it figures to be even harder for him to step from the baseball diamond to the football field.)

In the dark days of last December, a Redskins assistant groused to a Washington Times writer, "Deion couldn't name 10 guys on this team."

To which the writer replied, "Well, we've already heard him call the [interim] coach Terry Robinski. So that's one guy he can't name."

Sanders just isn't Schottenheimer's kind of player. He's a look-at-me type who has his own agenda an agenda that doesn't quite mesh with Marty's agenda. Marty has a minicamp, Deion has a ballgame. Marty has a summer school, Deion has a ballgame. This isn't the beginning of a beautiful friendship, folks; it's the end of an unfortunate and costly business decision. For the coach's own credibility if nothing else, Deion must go.

Hanging onto him would have other negative repercussions for the Redskins. It would force them either to dump more players or to rework more contracts further taxing the cap down the road. It would hinder, no doubt, the development of second-round pick Fred Smoot, who will probably play a bunch if Sanders isn't around. It would also make fans wonder if Schottenheimer isn't some kind of chameleon a guy who badmouths Dan Snyder on television one minute and agrees to work for him the next, a guy who preaches dedication and teamwork to his players but is willing to put up with Deion's self-absorbed antics.

No, it's time for the Redskins to cut their losses with Sanders. It's time for them to clear the books. And Schottenheimer is smart enough to realize this. Let the record show that Dan Snyder paid Deion:

• $2,125,000 for every interception (four).

• $1,416,666.67 for every fair catch (six).

• $850,000 for every pass defensed (10).

• $184,782.60 for every tackle (46).

• And here's my favorite way to look at it: $8.5 million to go to a Wizards game with him.

Not what you'd call a lot of bang for the buck.

Deion Sanders. He came in wearing a burgundy zoot suit and left wearing Cincinnati Reds pinstripes. Truly a signing to remember or in Snyder's case, forget.


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