The Hall of Fame cornerback--return specialist and two-time Super Bowl champion reflects on his draft days, hoop dreams and what the Browns and RG3 need to do to get on the winning track.
MAGGIE GRAY:What are your favorite memories from the three times you were drafted?
DEION SANDERS: You just reminded me: I was drafted twice in baseball [in the sixth round by the Royals in 1985 and in the 30th round the Yankees in '88; he was also taken No. 5 by the Falcons in '89], but I was really close to playing with the Hawks for one game. [Laughs.] When I was with the Braves, Stan Kasten was president of both the Braves and the Hawks. He was going to allow me to play in a game so that I could play three professional sports. Unfortunately it never happened.
MG:Speaking of basketball, LeBron James just won the NBA title for Cleveland. Does that take the Browns off the hook?
DS: No. It simply distracts the fans for a moment. Basketball is wonderful, but football is everything. Everything! As soon as training camp opens, it's back to football. And [Cleveland fans] don't think the Browns are going to win the championship; they just want the Browns to give the city hope. LeBron brought hope once he came back, and then he brought the championship home.
MG:Is RG3 going to be able to give those fans hope?
DS: RG3 can play the game, but he needs some receivers out there and a good [offensive] line. I do feel like RG3 is playing with a chip on his shoulder because he went from the big house to the outhouse really quick in Washington, and it humbled him. Now he is now putting forth the effort to work his butt off to get to the next level.
For more of Sanders's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/sinow
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"I was really close to playing for the Hawks for one game."