||06-08-2005 08:45 PM
Sanders passes physical, signs one-year deal with Ravens
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- Deion Sanders signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens after passing his physical Wednesday, then announced himself ready for another season. ``Feeling good, looking good,'' Sanders said. ``If women weren't present, I'd take off my shirt and show you how good I look. Trust me, 37-year-olds can't do what I do.''
``I don't have personal, selfish goals,'' he added. ``I'd like to add another Super Bowl". His return to the team was delayed for several days while his orthopedic surgeon in New York examined Sanders and reviewed the results of an MRI of the foot. The seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who will turn 38 on Aug. 9, could earn as much as $4 million if playing-time incentives are triggered.
Sanders, playing primarily as a nickel back, finished second on Ravens last year with three interceptions. He was limited to nine games because of his toe and hamstring injuries.
By his flamboyant standards, Sanders made a subdued entrance Wednesday. He wore a gray T-shirt and a large gold chain, a striking contrast to the burgundy-and-gold suit he sported when he joined the Washington Redskins before retiring in 2001.
``Things have changed: I'm an old man,'' Sanders said. ``I don't have to impress you. I can pull off my cape and pull off my mascara and allow myself to be me.''
An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Sanders intercepted two passes against the Buffalo Bills, returning one for a touchdown, and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
``The only problem is how can I perform, how long can I stay on the field,'' Sanders said. ``That's something I need your prayers about. If I stay on the field, I'm going to make plays.''
Unlike last year, when Sanders ended a three-year retirement days before the season began, he'll have sufficient time to prepare. Sanders said he hoped to practice Thursday, the final day of the Ravens' four-day minicamp.
``I was at a pool laying out when they called me to come back last year, tanning, a black man tanning at a pool,'' Sanders said.
This year, ``I've been training for a couple of months now. When you're older, trust me, you have to train much more so than the young guys.''
Sanders acknowledged that he's not ready yet for the change of direction that the cornerback position demands. He added that he has been mixing sprints and distance running along with playing basketball since June 1.
``I just think I can make plays. These fans in Baltimore deserve that,'' Sanders said. ``My teammates, they want to see me do my thing. That's the unfinished business. I gave everyone a commercial last year. I want to give them a movie.''
With Sanders, the Ravens secondary will feature the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year in safety Ed Reed, along with Pro Bowl cornerbacks Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle and Dale Carter. The secondary has a combined total of 17 Pro Bowl selections.
``I think it could be one of the best secondaries assembled, and that's saying a lot,'' said Sanders, who also expressed a desire to play on offense.
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