“I’ve been winning 'Best dressed' since middle school,” Sanders bragged to Bart Scott after giving the linebacker a few tips on how to knot his tie.
Prior to kickoff, Sanders told a Comcast Sportsnet cameraman that he cherished
his 14-year love affair with the NFL and that this was definitely the end of the
line after 191 career games.
When asked to elaborate afterward about his plans, Sanders was quick to say: “No
retirement questions. We’ll handle that back in Baltimore.”
For Sanders, 38, his final NFL game represented a mixed bag of excitement. He
was a game captain and started in place of injured cornerback Chris McAlister,
lining up at safety and cornerback.
The flamboyant 1994 NFL Defensive Player of the Year caught a lateral in the
first quarter when he lined up at wide receiver, but didn't gain any yards.
Sanders wanted to high-step into the end zone one more time after a
third-quarter interception by safety Ed Reed was lateraled to Samari Rolle and
However, Williams’ low lateral attempt to Sanders skidded across the ground to a
Cleveland lineman. Williams was ruled down on contact.
“Chad had the nerve to be mad at me,” Sanders quipped. “Tattoo wouldn’t have
been there on that pitch.”
Sanders finished his final season tied for the team lead with two interceptions,
boosting his career total to 53 interceptions.
“It was like a dream come true to play with a guy you idolize, a guy you became
really close with,” said Rolle, a protégé who honored Sanders by wearing his No.
2 jersey number at Florida State. “He was great for us, he was great for the
Besides Sanders, nickel back Dale Carter, 35, linebacker Peter Boulware, 30, and
offensive tackle Orlando Brown, 35, are also expected to strongly consider
Sanders was coaxed out of a three-year retirement two summers ago by former
Ravens defensive back Corey Fuller and linebacker Ray Lewis. He had designs on
earning another Super Bowl ring, but didn’t even make the playoffs in two
seasons in Baltimore.
Sanders alluded to camaraderie along with friendships made and strengthened as
his rewards for deciding to play football one more time.
“I think what I really truly came back for has happened,” Sanders said. "A lot
of intangibles occurred. I established some relationships that I will treasure.”
In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.
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