Posted by Ryan Wilson
"He's the first shutdown corner ever. He introduced the concept." - Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young
“Not in the NFL,” Sanders' agent Eugene Parker said when asked if there was anyone like Sanders when he came into the NFL in 1989. “He was the Muhammad Ali of the NFL.”
"You don't go from a Yugo to a Benz, back to a Yugo." - Deion Sanders, on being asked if he was going back to the Falcons, after a year with the 49ers
Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2011 | Sanders in photos | More Hall of Fame news
Deion Sanders is widely considered the best cover cornerback in NFL history and his first-ballot enshrinement is a testament to his effect on the position and the game during a 14-year career.
"Lord, I thank you. Jesus I love. If it wasn't for God I wouldn't be here today," Sanders began. "…I appreciate this game so much. … They told me we would get compensated for a game? And I hear so many people say, 'I would do this for free.' I would too as long as you're doing it for free," Sanders said to a stadium full of laughs.
"...This game taught me so much about people, about focus, about sacrifice."
Sanders told an impassioned story about his mother, and a promise he made that she would never have to work again.
"The problem with some dreams is that they're only about you," Sanders said. "If you're dream ain't bigger than you, there's a problem with your dream."
Sanders also addressed the doubters who said he wasn't much of a tackler during his NFL career.
"Some of my critics say, 'You know, Prime didn't tackle.' I want to respond to that publicly, because that affects me, that bothers me. …Since 1989 I've tackled every bill my mama has every given me. Haven't missed one. The next time they say 'Prime didn't tackle.' Let them know 'Yes he did.'"
A former first-round pick (fifth overall) out of Florida State, Sanders played with the Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins and Ravens. He's an eight-time Pro Bowler, six-time first-team All-Pro selection, two-time Super Bowl champ, and was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.
Sanders now works as an analyst for NFL Network. He also founded Prime U, which helps college athletes prepare for the NFL Combine.
Eugene Parker presented Sanders for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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