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Deion Sanders denies he made list of NFL teams he’d let his kids play for: ‘That’s a stupid lie’

In Sports
April 19, 2024

Deion Sanders has big plans for his children, Colorado players Shilo and Shedeur Sanders, plus star Travis Hunter, in the NFL Draft. He just doesn’t have a specific list of teams he’ll allow to draft them.

The Colorado head coach grabbed headlines yet again last month with reports that he had a list of six NFL teams he would approve his kids playing for: supposedly the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Commanders, Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.

Not coincidentally, five of those are teams Deion played for during his NFL career.

However, Sanders threw a couple buckets of cold water on those reports this week, first telling a local CBS affiliate it was “a stupid lie” (video above):

“Who said that and did you see me say that? … The thing about a lie, a lie is so fast. It can outrun the truth any day. That’s a bold-faced lie. That’s a stupid lie. I have more than six owners that are friends. I have more than six GMs that are friends. You gotta understand I played 14 [seasons] and I worked another 17, I believe, in the NFL, NFL Network and CBS. I know a lot of people. Come on. So I would never do that. Before I would disclose — if I was that stupid, I wouldn’t disclose the teams I would want them to play for, I would disclose the several that I wouldn’t.”

He disputed it again with reporters on Thursday.

The past few days have seen a steady stream of aggregations and reaction to the idea of Sanders going full helicopter parent as his kids move toward the NFL. However, the origin of the report appears to be a few weeks old and, as Sanders indicated, not exactly what the man said.

Why do people think Deion Sanders will only let his kids play for six NFL teams?

As far as we can tell, the majority of reports on Sanders’ “list” originate from one New York Post article published March 25, which itself is based on an appearance Sanders made on the “Million Dollaz Worth Of Game” podcast published March 22. Other outlets, such as ESPN and CBS Sports, aggregated the same “information” after the Post article published, and more did the same this week.

We’re now going to list every quote we could find from Sanders on this 75-minute podcast that concerns his children and their potential draft destinations.

The main one, in which Sanders makes clear that there are certain teams he will not allow to draft his children and Hunter, with an overt threat of pulling an Eli Manning (i.e. refuse to play for a team that drafts you a la the 2004 stand-off that led to the youngest Manning brother being traded from the San Diego Chargers):

“One of them is going to be one, and the latter one would not go behind four. Now, all this is subjective, because I know where I want — kinda want them to go. And let’s not forget Shilo, but I know where I want them to go. So with certain cities, ain’t gonna happen. It’s gonna be Eli. We ain’t doing it.”

A host then notes that “whatever cities they go to, you got people there,” to which Sanders responds “Oh yeah.”

Later, one of the hosts said they would take Shilo on the Eagles. Sanders’ response:

“Yeah, that would be good for him.”

And finally, Sanders says this about the Falcons:

“It was certain cities that fit. Atlanta fit. And that’s what I want for my kids. All of them. I want the right fit.”

“What is it about Atlanta?”

“First of all, there’s the ethnicity, because that’s the first time I ever saw Black people in positions of authority. I had never seen African Americans as doctors and lawyers until I went on an All-American visit there. Blew my mind.”

That appears to be it.

And yet, the Post reported this in the 11th paragraph of its story:

“He also named San Francisco, Dallas, Washington and Baltimore as potential cities he would approve of them playing in — all of which are teams he played for during his 14-season career.”

Yahoo Sports could not find any mention of San Francisco, Dallas, Washington or Baltimore in a review of the podcast.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Shedeur Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Shilo Sanders attend the 13th Annual NFL Honors at Resorts World Theatre on February 08, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Deion Sanders knows where he wants his children, Shedeur and Shilo, to go. The list just appears to be longer than six teams. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

So, like Sanders, we’re not quite sure how this list came to be. However, it would also be false to say Sanders isn’t pulling some machinations to prevent his children from going to a place he doesn’t want. He outright said he is willing to do what the Manning family did in 2004, which along with John Elway is the most famous example of a player trying to exert his will on the usually iron-fisted draft process.

Sanders also outright said he doesn’t want his kids playing for a cold-weather team last month, which creates its own sort of list (though apparently Philadelphia doesn’t count).

All of this appears to be a product of a game of telephone involving a podcast, a tabloid and aggregators hungry for Sanders content. Which is odd considering how much Sanders is already willing to do to raise the profile of his Colorado program.

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