Originally created 02/08/00

Deion is ready to leave Cowboys



FORT WORTH, Texas -- After each of the last two seasons, Deion Sanders has blown off steam about the Dallas Cowboys not being headed in the right direction.

This time, he says it's enough to make him want to leave.

"I had a wonderful time," Sanders told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Monday's editions. "I wanted some more wins. I wanted more Super Bowls. But it was good.

"I understood I was a hired gun. I've still got some bullets. It's not my fault the gun doesn't shoot like it used to."

Sanders joined the Cowboys in 1995 and helped them win their third Super Bowl in four years that season. Dallas has won just one playoff game since then.

Sanders, who also won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers, said he wants to play next season with a team that has a good chance of giving him a third ring.

Technically, Sanders is going into the second year of a five-year, $51.5 million contract signed last year. The team, however, is expected to cut the 32-year-old cornerback on June 2 to avoid being stuck with a $12.7 million salary-cap obligation next season. He would likely be cut even if there were plans to re-sign him.

Doubt about whether the Cowboys are interested began last month when team owner Jerry Jones backed off an earlier statement that he'd like to see Sanders end his career in Dallas.

The Cowboys also can't be happy with Sanders' decision to return to baseball. He will soon join the Cincinnati Reds for spring training.

Sanders lit a fuse following the second-to-last game of the season, a loss in New Orleans, when he said: "If I don't think the team inside that locker room is capable of winning the Super Bowl, then there's no reason to play. I'm too old for that. There's no reason to play for second place. It's about winning Super Bowls."

He added that he would probably change his mind a few days later when he calmed down "and when I get my paycheck."

After the 1998 season ended with a first-round playoff loss to Arizona, Sanders was disgusted by the team's performance and said it was "time for some guys to step up or step out."

Sanders returned from career-threatening toe surgery last year to play in the team's final 14 regular-season games. Surgeons last month also repaired a medial meniscus tear on Sanders' right knee.