Deion Sanders has long been a fan of — and believer in — Deandre Baker.
Before the legal mess that nearly derailed Baker’s pro football career (not to mention his life), Sanders spent enough time talking with Baker, who won the Jim Thorpe Award winner as college football’s best defensive back in 2018, to believe he’d make it as a pro.
“I told several teams when he came out of college, you better get that boy and they said, ‘Why do you say that?’ Because I sat down, I spoke to him,” said Sanders, who spoke to Yahoo Sports on behalf of Subway’s Contactless Curbside pick-up, which is now available nationwide.
“He’s gonna be one of the best players in the game. I said that when he came out and several teams still passed up on him.”
Now, Sanders says he hasn’t spoken to Baker in a couple of years, which means Baker can’t fully explain everything that’s happened to him following a difficult rookie season with the Giants, who released him in September after he was accused of robbing a Miami-area party in May. (The charges were dropped last week.)
Yet Sanders says he saw enough from Baker back then to remain bullish on the young corner’s prospects.
“Tremendous gifts coming out of Georgia, very aggressive, very forthcoming — he wanted action and he prepared,” Sanders said. “But the next level is the next level; you’ve got to be a professional not only on the field, but off the field. Oftentimes, people that migrate from certain areas don’t understand that command of being professional on the field and off the field, so I think he learned a valuable lesson. I can’t wait to see him over the next few years because I’m sure he’s going to get it together now, because he’s learned his lesson.”
And why is “Prime Time” so confident in that? Because he says he received a call from someone close to Baker recently — “It was somebody from his team that I know very closely, one of my boys,” he said — who asked Sanders for his thoughts on possible landing spots for the 23-year-old.
“They read off several teams to me that wanted his services, and my response was, why would you go to Houston, some of those other teams where a couple of them weren’t winning at all?” Sanders said. “Why would you do that, when every play, every first down, is vital?’”
So Sanders suggested, quite strongly, that Baker prioritize winning football games and personal growth more than anything right now, which to him meant signing with one club in particular.
“Why wouldn’t you go to someone [that’s winning] like Kansas City … where you get to really see and experience winning?” Sanders