Tag:Deion Sanders
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:54 am
Edited on: August 6, 2011 12:59 am

Is Hall of Fame voting process a bug or feature?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This is like trying to identify the ugliest Victoria Secret's Angel, but in the spirit of fairness (and on behalf of ugly people everywhere) we feel compelled to mention that of the four modern players to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday -- Richard Dent, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Shannon Sharpe -- Sharpe is probably the least attractive lingerie model of the bunch, metaphorically speaking.

That's not to say he shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame one day -- he should -- just that it's all relative, in both senses of the word. First, you can make a case, without much effort, that Cris Carter or Curtis Martin would have been just as deserving had they been selected instead of Sharpe. And even Sharpe, speaking the day before his induction, admitted that his brother should've ended up in Canton before he did.

“Sterling was supposed to be in the Hall first,” Sharpe said. “I was supposed to introduce him for his speech, for his introduction and then take his bronze bust into the Hall. But now we’re going in together. I’m taking him in with me. … I’ve always wanted to be like him,” said Shannon.

Part of the issue is the fickle, sometimes secretive nature of the voting process. And barring a sudden change in course away from old-school writers debating the merits of each candidate based on things like "grit" and "gut feelings" in favor of a room filled with eggheads, mountains of data and complex algorithms accounting for variables most of us would've never even considered, it's going to be a messy affair.

If you're willing to accept the premise that it's an imperfect system but one that, in general, eventually gets it right, it makes the whole undertaking much less stressful and slightly more reasonable. (At least for the onlooker. We can't imagine what the nominees must go through, leaving the fate of their professional legacy in the hands of faceless voters.)

As for Sharpe's credentials, they're impeccable. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, four times a unanimous first-team All Pro, he started for two different Super Bowl-winning organizations, and he retired as the NFL's career leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end (records later broken by Tony Gonzalez).

So what's the problem?

It's less a problem than a nuanced distinction that gives us pause, even if momentarily. (Not to mention our previous concerns that there were very little differences among the candidacies of Sharpe, Carter and Martin.) In February, after the 2011 Hall of Fame candidates had been announced but before the finalists had been named, ProFootballReference.com wrote about Sharpe's Hall of Fame chances.

They (like us) thought he deserved to be in Canton, but made an intriguing point: Sharpe was a tight end, but at 6-2, 225 -- and given how he was utilized (and that he wasn't considered much of a blocker) -- he was closer to a wide receiver. PFR.com contrasts Sharpe with a player critics of the HOF voting system would point to whenever they wanted to make their point in just two words: "Art Monk."

The details:

PFR lists Sharpe at 6'2, 225 and Monk at 6'3 and 210. While Sharpe looks a lot bigger, and their careers overlapped, some significant changes occurred in the NFL while these guys were playing. In Monk's breakout season, 1984, the average TE was 6'3 or 6'4 and 236 pounds. Ten years later, the average TE was 6'4 and 254 pounds. So Monk was about 25 pounds lighter than the average TE; Sharpe was a little shorter and about 30 pounds lighter than the typical tight end. In Monk's five 1,000 yard seasons, he averaged 13.8 yards per reception; the league average for yards per reception (YPR) for WRs was 15.2 in those seasons. In Sharpe's four big-yardage years he averaged 13.0 YPR while the average WR averaged 13.7 YPR. Both were dependable, reliable possession receivers and had significantly better hands than the typical tight end. Both were much better blockers than your average WR but worse blockers than the average tight end.

If Sharpe is considered as a WR, he's in trouble. He ranked in the top ten just once in receiving yards, a tenth place finish in 1993. Like Monk, he has three Super Bowl rings, but that won't be enough if people compare him to Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.

But -- and this distinction can't be overstated -- the PFR.com post makes one final, important point: "We shouldn't just think of these guys as tight ends or wide receivers, but as football players. And unlike in baseball, your contribution to your team can't be measured by what designation they put next to your name on the team roster."

It's that consideration that makes it easier for us to reconcile Sharpe's 2011 enshrinement over other just-as-deserving candidates. Football is the ultimate team sport, and contributions irrespective of position should carry more weight than anything else. It's just that sometimes, voters reach those conclusions separately from those of us on the outside looking in. Monk is the most obvious example. He had to wait eight years to get his due, but it finally came in 2008. 

Three years later, and with nowhere near the controversy, it's Sharpe's turn and he's earned it. Sure, we could just as easily be talking about Carter or Martin here, but history suggests they'll eventually end up in Canton, too. This weekend, Shannon is the Laetitia Casta to Deion, Marshall and Richard's Marissa Miller, Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum. There are worse fates.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 1:49 pm

Dez Bryant faces civil suit for unpaid debts

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said two weeks ago that "[M]y focus is on the Cowboys. … [They] have nothing to worry about. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do."

Bryant's comments come after a busy offseason that included mall banishment for wearing his pants to low (he was later allowed to return to the mall, baggy pants and all), being sued by a local Dallas jeweler for $600,000, and a public breakup with his mentor Deion Sanders.

Even though Bryant proclaimed in June that he had a handle on his money situation, he continues to find himself in legal entanglements for unpaid Bills.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Bryant and his confidante, area bail-bondsman David Wells, face a Jan. 9, 2012, court date in a civil suit.
Eleow Hunt, of Colleyville, filed suit in Tarrant County in September, 2010, alleging Bryant and Wells have not paid him about $600,000 for jewelry, sports tickets and loans. It was the second civil suit against Bryant in the last year. He has settled with a New York jeweler over an alleged debt or $246,000. In June, Bryant claimed Hunt's civil suit had been "taken care of."
Most people make it through their entire lives without being sued for unpaid debts, even without ever signing five-year, $11.8 million contracts that included $8.5 million in guarantees.

So while Bryant says that the Cowboys have nothing to worry about, we're guessing that, you know, they're still worrying.

Silver lining: At least Bryant isn't sending $76,000 worth of jewelry by way of the U.S. Postal Service.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 8:15 pm

Bryant: 'Cowboys have nothing to worry about'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

According to the handy CBSSports.com lockout-o-meter, we have been without football for 121 days. It seems like one of the Cowboys' primary concerns these past four months is how 2010 first-round pick Dez Bryant would handle all the unstructured free time.

And perhaps the organization has reason to worry. Bryant's been banned from malls for wearing his pants to low, sued by a local Dallas jeweler for $600,000, and had a public breakup with his mentor Deion Sanders.

Turns out there's nothing to see here, people. Despite Sanders saying that Bryant needs people in his life who will tell him "no," Bryant says he's all about football.

“I congratulate Deion on the success he had in his career and I'm very excited about him getting inducted into the Hall of Fame," Bryant said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "But my focus is on the Cowboys. Whatever is said about that situation, it can be said. I'm done with it. I'm just ready to move on."

After Bryant's "droopy pants incident" at a Dallas-area mall in March, Sanders, appearing on the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN 103.3, said "[Bryant] needs help. I told the Cowboys from Day 1 that he needs help. Matter of fact, they have a team in place to help him. But you cannot tell a grown man what to do."

Bryant's response at the time: "I wish Deion would come to me as a man and talk to me. I've been reaching out to Deion. I've never done anything wrong to Deion or disrespected him. I've never lied to Deion."

Some four months later and Bryant says he has a handle on his situation.

"I know the main guys that I do have around me. I'm not going to say any names, but I put them to work. Just know they're not going to live off of Dez Bryant. I've told them to their face, 'If you're not on what I'm on, and that's doing everything right, you got to move around. ... We all have to stay focused. And there's only three of us really. Three of us and another one of my good friends. We are all friends. There's only three that are actively working."

To recap: There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.

"All I know is everybody's entitled to their own opinion. In my eyes, I felt like the Cowboys have nothing to worry about. I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I feel like I'm maturing as a man. I'm getting everything done like I'm supposed to do. I'm ready to go out and play football and do my best."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:38 pm

Hot Routes 7.11.11: Sounds like Favre's retired

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL)
  • We now have two players in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. Former University of Georgia running back Caleb King joins Terrelle Pryor in a draft that usually takes place in mid-July but because of the lockout could happen sometime in the coming weeks. According to PFT, King received a grade of 4.9 from National Scouting, the same organization that gave Pryor a 5.1 (which translates into a sixth- or seventh-round pick).
  • Deion Sanders, like everybody else on the planet, is tired of talking about the lockout. So instead, he talks about himself. (To be fair, he was asked, and it's regarding his Hall of Fame enshrinement next month.)
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 9, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 11:57 pm

Don Maynard thinks he could have taken Revis

Don Maynard (left) said he could have taken D. Revis one on one (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

During the NFL Network’s recent top-100 countdown, Jets coach Rex Ryan told the cameras that, when Darrelle Revis’ career is complete, the top-flight CB will be known as the best player in franchise history, saying, "There's only one Darrelle Revis. There's not a better zone (corner). There's not a better man (man-to-man corner). You name the defense, he's the best at it."

ESPN New York caught up with WR Don Maynard – who, along with QB Joe Namath – is considered one of the best Jets in history, and Maynard had an interesting theory about how he would have performed against Revis.

Asked if he could have taken Revis one-on-one, Maynard said, “Oh yeah. It doesn't matter if it was him or anyone else. I had a guy named Namath throwing me the ball. If he goes left, I go right. If he goes right, I go left -- the ball would be there. And I've never been caught from behind. That's why my book is called, 'You Can't Catch Sunshine.' (Revis) is like Deion Sanders. I would've loved to have played against those guys."

I assume the Sanders comparison is a compliment. But Maynard also realizes it’s impossible to line up players side by side if they didn’t play in the same era.

"Everybody has his own opinion," Maynard said. "It's like a basketball official calling a ball game. When he blows the whistle, he pleases one team and displeases another. I'm not judging any of them. Whatever (Ryan) says is his business … I'll say this: Our credentials speak for themselves. We wound up in the Hall of Fame."

For the record, Maynard played from 1958-73. He led the AFL in 1965 in touchdowns (14), and in 1967 he led in receiving yards (1,434). He made four Pro Bowls before he was elected into the Pro Football HOF in 1987. His 88 career touchdowns still rank 10th-best all time.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: April 2, 2011 11:11 am

Cowboys concerned for Dez Bryant during lockout?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's no secret that Dez Bryant hasn't had the best run ever since the lockout began -- he's been harassed for wearing baggy pants and he's been accused of not paying for a lot of jewelry that he owns.

Perhaps the timing of the off-field issues and the NFL's labor nightmare are simply coincidence, but regardless, Cowboys management doesn't seem too optimistic about what will happen to Dez if the staff can't talk to him for several months.

That's according to Albert Breer of NFL.com, whose Cowboys' sources paint a bleak picture of hope for Bryant's future.

"You have to be worried, based on the stuff he's been through and the history of having done it before, it's kind of a pattern with him," said one of Breer's sources about Bryant. "It's not being able to take care of the things that you'd expect the normal 22 year old to be able to handle.

"Sometimes, it's the simplest things. And a lot of it is not his fault, it's because of the way he was brought up. He's got a good heart, and the best intentions, but all this stuff happens and it takes away from that."
More on Dez

This isn't about the fact that Bryant is a bad person, by the way. He's not, and the Cowboys don't think that. This is about Bryant needing the support system that the Cowboys' organization offers him.

Unfortunately, because of the lockout, the Cowboys can't talk or meet with Bryant -- meaning they have to sit by helplessly and hope that their first-round investment and would-be superstar receiver can mature all by himself.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 25, 2011 1:08 pm

Deion Sanders, Bryant in a quarrel

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Hall of Fame CB Deion Sanders used to mentor Cowboys WR Dez Bryant, but in recent months, that relationship has changed and they no longer work together.

So, perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Sanders criticized Bryant (he of the alleged droopy pants , though some of that theory has been debunked by now) on ESPN 103.3, saying Bryant had been ignorant and that he wasn’t surprised by the incident at NorthPark Center mall.

Since the story came out – Bryant apparently was sagging his pants at the mall and was asked to lift them, and after he refused, two off-duty cops escorted him out of the mall and told him he was banned from returning for the next three months and he cursed at them – Bryant has told his side of the story.

Bryant told ESPN Dallas that he was guilty of using profanity, but that was it.

After hearing Sander’s comments, Bryant told ESPN Dallas, “I wish Deion would come to me as a man and talk to me. I've been reaching out to Deion. I've never done anything wrong to Deion or disrespected him. I've never lied to Deion."

Sanders said he stopped working with Bryant, because Bryant was dishonest. Bryant refutes that as well:

Meanwhile, Bryant said Sanders has refused to talk to him since he backed out of his marketing deal with Under Armour, a popular shoe and apparel company that also outfits Sanders' youth athletic programs. The deal fell apart, according to Bryant, because he determined during last year's minicamps that the company's cleats weren't the right fit for his feet.

Bryant, who wears Nike cleats but does not have a shoe deal, said Sanders has ignored repeated text messages from him since then.

"I never knew the reason for Deion not saying anything to me," Bryant said. "The only thing I can believe is that when I stopped talking to Under Armour, Deion stopped talking to me. I never knew what Prime's problem was.

"That's my decision. That has nothing to do with Prime. That made me feel he must be getting something from Under Armour."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:07 pm

HOF voters spent a long time on Deion

Sanders Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In an interesting nugget in the middle of his column today, NFL.com’s Vic Carucci wrote about how the Hall of Fame voters discussed and debated Deion Sanders’ candidacy and whether WR Andre Reed ever will be inducted.

The selection meeting lasted almost a full day’s work (7 ½ hours), and much of that time was taken up by the Sanders discussion. Which was a tad shocking.

Here’s an explanation on what happened:

The biggest surprise is that Deion Sanders wound up being the topic of one of the longest conversations. He was, by far, the one player who should have been viewed as an automatic first-ballot choice. The NFL has never had a better cover cornerback or returner, for that matter.

The three wide receivers on the list – Andre Reed, Cris Carter and Tim Brown – also took up a significant chunk of the meeting. Unfortunately, none got in. Reed did make it to the final 10 for the second year in a row, but I honestly don't know what can ultimately get him over the hump.

My sense is that Reed, Carter and Brown simply are facing too much opposition from Hall voters who simply don't believe that receivers in the era the three played are deserving because their great statistics were achieved after NFL rules were altered to allow teams to more easily produce passing yards and, therefore, points.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com