‘Muhammad Ali in a Football Uniform’

Will Muhammad Ali ever put on a football uniform? Will he be the greatest of all time if he did?

Muhammad Ali’s name is synonymous with boxing. But, he also had a passion for football and played as a running back for the Cleveland Browns during the 1960 season.

‘Muhammad Ali in a Football Uniform’

Deion Sanders had a 14-year NFL career that was littered with highlight-reel plays and top-notch flair. Chris Mortensen of ESPN NFL Insider remembers the great cornerback’s influence on the Atlanta Falcons when he first arrived. Sanders, according to the veteran journalist, reminded him of renowned boxer Muhammad Ali.

Deion Sanders’ early effect has been compared to Muhammad Ali by Chris Mortensen.

Chris Mortensen compared former Falcons CB Deion Sanders to boxing legend Muhammad Ali

Chris Mortensen compared former Falcons CB Deion Sanders to boxing legend Muhammad Ali The Atlanta Falcons’ Deion Sanders warms up before their game against the Washington Redskins | George Gojkovich/Getty Images In New York, Muhammad Ali poses for a shot | Stanley Weston/Getty Images

Deion Sanders was taken No. 5 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1989 NFL Draft out of Florida State. Sanders only stayed in Atlanta for the first five seasons of his NFL career, but he made a profound impression in such a short time.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN covered the Falcons at the time and recalls the first time the Hall of Fame cornerback on the field.

According to Mortensen of The Undefeated, “I believe people were essentially witnessing Muhammad Ali in a football outfit.” “‘I’ve already told you who I am. I sell tickets for a purpose.’ That is one of my top ten sports memories in my 50-year career as a sports reporter.”

It didn’t take long for the native of Fort Myers, Florida, to create an impression in the game. In his debut NFL game, Sanders returned a punt for a score.

“I’d never heard that stadium that loud before,” Mortensen remarked. The events leading up to it, as well as the supporters’ confusion over who they were. Then he went on to be everything and more than everyone had hoped for.”

Sanders, like Muhammad Ali, was flamboyant and knew how to put on a show for the crowd without really trying. He came into the NFL brimming with self-assurance and wasn’t afraid to show it.

There’s a reason Sanders is known as “Prime Time.” Even before he came in Atlanta, he knew he’d steal the show.

Sanders found Atlanta to be a great location.

@DeionSanders nearly pulled off the ‘Double Play’ 28 years ago.

Sanders appeared in a Falcons game in Miami before flying to Pittsburgh to suit up for the Braves’ NLCS game against the Pirates. pic.twitter.com/pyCZODhbqT

October 11, 2020 — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)

During the NFL Draft, Deion Sanders controlled his own fate. Because he was playing baseball, he advised other NFL clubs not to pick him.

He said, “I wasn’t going to Green Bay.” “I had no intention of traveling to Detroit.” It’s much too chilly. I was born and raised in the state of Florida. I was supposed to go to a meeting with Detroit, but I didn’t. Take the other Sanders, for example. He’s fantastic.”

Sanders’ arrogant swagger, according to Chris Mortensen, enabled everything to go as planned.

“He was dictating terms when terms couldn’t be dictated back then,” Mortensen added.

The 8-time Pro Bowler then relocated to Atlanta, where he fell in love right away. The city provided him with a sense of belonging and made the move from college to the professional world much simpler.

“I was really enthralled by the atmosphere. “The whole beat,” Sanders said. “Everyone was on the same side as everyone else.” Atlanta would ride with you if you showed potential and tried to do things correctly. “Atlanta would be there for you.”

Deion Sanders appreciated how the city welcomed him as one of its own. He believed it was only fair to give his best to the audience. The legendary defensive back also spent four seasons in Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves.

The Hall of Fame cornerback was heartbroken when the Falcons refused to renew his contract.

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Deion Sanders was doing what he loved in a place that he had grown to like. Unfortunately, owing to unforeseen circumstances, his life was cut short.

The management staff of the Atlanta Falcons decided not to extend the Florida State product’s contract after five seasons with the team. His stint with the Braves also came to an end not long after.

“I adore the city,” Sanders added. “When I was moved from the Braves [to Cincinnati] and never even given a contract by the Falcons, it shattered my heart.”

Chris Mortensen couldn’t believe the Falcons didn’t make an effort to keep the 6-time All-Pro.

He remarked, “Deion was the first individual to effectively advertise himself and a brand.” “That’s why it’s so surprising they didn’t try all in their power to retain him.” You place it on your ownership, and you can read anything you want into it.”

Sanders left the Falcons because he was no longer desired for whatever reason. In the NFL, he spent nine more seasons with the 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins, and Ravens.

Prime Time, like Muhammad Ali, was a performer. Unfortunately, the Falcons did not fully appreciate Deion Sanders.

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RELATED: Deion Sanders and His Sons Lived Up to the Expectations This Fall and Surprisingly Shocked the Football World

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