Sanders sends his Falcons helmet and ball to Hall of Fame

Deion Sanders visited the team facilities with his youth football team last summer. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Deion Sanders visited the team facilities with his youth football team last summer. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the arrival of Deion Sander’s helmet and a game ball on Monday.

When Sanders is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, he will become the first long-time Falcon enshrined.

He will join running back Eric Dickerson and wide receiver Tommy McDonald as the only Falcons in Canton. Dickerson played briefly for the Falcons during the 1993 season. McDonald, who was a member of the 1967 squad, played just one season for the Falcons.

“We’re so pleased that Deion has sent his helmet and football. It’s a great way for fans visiting the Hall of Fame to connect to his great career,” said Jason Aikens, the hall’s collections curator in a statement.

Sanders’ memorabilia will be placed in an exhibit that features the 2011 class.

The 2011 induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, August 6. If the lockout is over, the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams will play on Sunday, August 7.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: D. Orlando Ledbetter is a member of Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 44-person Selection Committee.)

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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47 comments Add your comment

opie

June 14th, 2011
1:02 am

Great Post D-Led! I am happy Prime Time will be the first Falcons Draft Choice Elected to the Hall. I hope it open doors for Tommy Nobis and Claude Humphries through the Veterans Committee.

[...] Atlanta Falcons [...]

Joe

June 14th, 2011
3:12 am

We have to retire his number, since he is going in as a Falcon!

Larry

June 14th, 2011
3:47 am

Joe,

Meion played for us his first 5 years, bolted, then spent the rest of his career using any and all opportunities to embarrass the team that drafted him and gave him his start in the NFL.

He was a phenomenal athlete and the best cover corner ever (best cover corner, not the best all around corner), but a person whose career numbers and dedication to the Atlanta Falcons is not worthy of retiring his number.

Caribourancher

June 14th, 2011
6:50 am

I was looking for a reason to smile this morning. I found it.

paul steele

June 14th, 2011
6:51 am

leon Prime is all about mouth and more mouth! Yes , he could cover and had speed, but he could not tackle a wet paper bag even on his own head… Retire his no. ! Are you kidding me.. No way..

FalconsFan

June 14th, 2011
7:26 am

Joe,
You only go into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of a team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame only recognizes the player not the team(s) he played for. Watch any Football Hall of Fame induction for a player that’s played for multiple teams and they’re all represented. Deion may choose to talk about the Falcons more but he’s not going in as a Falcon but rather Deion Sanders the player.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 14th, 2011
7:56 am

Opie – Thanks. They are making a veterans committee announcement Wednesday.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 14th, 2011
7:57 am

Larry and Joe — He went into the Ring of Honor last season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 14th, 2011
8:17 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 14th, 2011
8:24 am

Thanks Skip.

NoTacklingRequired

June 14th, 2011
8:27 am

Deion didn’t need to know how to tackle, he always got the ball when it was thrown his way…its the offense that needed to know how to tackle. @Acksun–right on! We have good players in Atlanta, NOT GREAT because Atlanta don’t like GREAT players that speak, they like athletic talkers–the quiet do as I say’ers!

ueeediot

June 14th, 2011
8:38 am

I was at the game when Deion was introduced to the Ring of Honor. Those of us in the stands wondered if the speech about loving Atlanta was just talk or if they picked the Thursday night game because Deion would be forced to be at the Dome by contract.
Deion could have easily picked SF or Dallas, where he won SB rings, as his HoF choice, but now that he has decided to go the HoF as a Falcon, I think it is settled. Deion Sanders is an Atlanta Falcon!

FalconsFan

June 14th, 2011
8:58 am

ueeediot,
Deion isn’t going in as a Falcon, he’s going in as Deion Luwynn Sanders.

DOL we might need a quick blog/article about the Football HOF and how it’s nothing like the Baseball HOF. LOL

Justluvthegame

June 14th, 2011
9:01 am

I remember watching games when Deion played. Inevitably, there would be someone from the other team, streaking down the sideline on the opposite side of the field from Deion, headed towards the goal line. Then, there came Deion flashing into the picture and catching him about 10 yards from the endzone. Not the greatest tackler, but he always got the player down or out of bounds and saved the score. What a rush! Honor the player, even if you don’t like the person.

J-man

June 14th, 2011
9:18 am

Larry – My what a short memory you have. Before you go blaming Deion you might consider that the Falcons elected not to make him a franchise player, thus enabling him to leave via free agency. If you want to blame anyone you should direct your wrath towards owner Rankin Smith as it was his decision to save money by letting Deion leave.

I still remember those mostly bad Falcons teams he played for and how he always gave his best, even in late season games where the Falcons had no chance at making the playoffs. If only more players on the team played like him maybe the Falcons would have been better back then.

Calvin G. Sims, Sr.

June 14th, 2011
9:27 am

I truly regret all of the negative remarks. I consider Mr. Sanders one of my favorite athletes of all. I especially admire the man he is today and all of the charitable things that he does.

I remember when he landed at Atlanta airport – after being drafted by Atlanta – covered in jewelry and wearing a “Jeri-Curl,” as a conservative black man, I was disappointing in him and wondered if he was going to benefit my beloved Falcons. Since that time, it has been a remarkable and pleasant experience watching him both on and off the football field.

It is also very clear that he holds a tremendous amount of respect from his peers, both in the sport and in the booth. I am proud and honored that Mr. Sanders will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an Atlanta Falcon.

Go Falcons!

Licking Dawg

June 14th, 2011
9:48 am

For those who do not remember – Deion brought a lot of excitiement and energy to a franchise that never had back to back winning seasons.

He was extremely exciting to watch – the best cover corner I ever saw – a great punt returner – and I never saw him take a play off. He gave his best to the Falcons – and at the end of his contract – the Falcons had the opportunity to retain him – but did not.

Deion was mouthy, flashy, screamed for attention – but so what – he was also an incredible team player that was not satisfied with a paycheck – he wanted to be a champion.

The teams that were serious about winning a title pursued Deion after he became a free agent.

The Falcons did not want to build a championship franchise – the Smith family ran the franchise as a business to make a profit – which they should – and hoped to catch lightening in a bottle with lower payroll.

Licking Dawg

June 14th, 2011
9:57 am

For those that do not remember:
Deion brought much needed energy, attititude and effort to the Falcons.
He was the best cover corner I have ever seen – and a great punt returner.

He also was an incredible team player – many do not realize this. Never did I hear or read any articles or reports about other players saying anything negative about Deion.

Deion brought a lot of attention to himself – being cocky and mouthy with an attititude – but that was his act – again – this team loved him – and he gave great effort.

Deion wanted to win a championship. AFter his contract was up – the teams that pursued him were all teams focussed on winning a championship.

The Falcons owners ran the franchise like a business – for a profit. Nothing wrong with that. However, while they desired to win – they hoped to do so by catching lightening in a bottle with a lower payroll team. The Falcons could not retain Deion because his market value exceeded what they were willing to spend. Not Deions Fault.

Great for Deion – and Go Falcons!

Falcon Pride!

June 14th, 2011
10:05 am

Hey – great for Deion and great for the Falcons!

Deion brought a lot to the Falcons – energy, attititude, desire to win. He was the best corner cover I have ever seen – and a great punt returner as well.

While he brought a lot of flash and attention to himself – he was a big time team player. His teammates loved him – and I never saw him take a play off. I do nto recall any criticism directed at Deion by his teammates.

After 5 years – and when his contract was up – he left to join teams that were serious about – and in position to win a championship.

The Falcons were a mid-payroll team – and Deions market value far exceeded what they could spend. The Falcons owners did want to win – but ran the team to make a profit – which they should – and hoped to catch lightning in a bottle with a mid-payroll team – which is hard to do. Hey – it is what it is.

Falcon Pride!

June 14th, 2011
10:18 am

Good for Deion – good for the Falcons!

Deion brought much needed energy, attitude and a desire to win to the Falcons.

Best corner cover I ever saw – and a fantastic return man as well.

Yes – he brought a lot of attention with his mouth and attititude – but that was his Schtick!
He was a great team player! His teammates loved him and respected him. I can not recall any negative reports or articles toward Dieon from his teammates.

After his contract was up – Deion’s market value far exceeded what the Falcons could spend. Teams that were serious contenders went after Deion. That’s what championship teams do – and ATL was not a championship franchise.

The Falcons were a mid-level payroll team – and ran the franchise to make a profit – which is the correct thing to do. The Smith family did want to win – but doing so with a mid-payroll team – hoping to catch lightening in a bottle for that one miracle feel good season – is at best – a very low odds to success proposition.

I appreciate what Deions efforts in Atlanta – he did his best – and he was fun to watch!

Dylan

June 14th, 2011
11:00 am

Great..love the Man..he made it fun to watch… Baseball & Football.

kyle

June 14th, 2011
11:27 am

favre was a draft choice as well

isproab

June 14th, 2011
12:35 pm

Great news for Falcons fans. Deion was the best CB to play the game ever. Nobody else was even close. All this mess about tackles is just BS. He never didn’t bring down a guy that he needed to. I could care less if he didn’t look like Ronnie Lott doing it.

Prime brought excitement, confidence and flare to the game that pissed off normal athletes and media types b/c they couldn’t do the things he did. He never played the game the wrong way. Favorite Falcon/athlete of all time!

Billy

June 14th, 2011
12:45 pm

Deion would have been a career-long Falcon if Arthur Blank had owned the team!

Billy

June 14th, 2011
12:46 pm

No, Deion wasn’t much of a tackler, but he could lay the smack down when he needed to. Just ask Jay Schreoder!

The U

June 14th, 2011
1:26 pm

He talked the talked and walked the walk. Let’s no forget his professionalism on and off the field. There was never a mumbling word about the man’s off field antics. No DUI’s or “making it rain” in the strip clubs. One of the best that ever put on a Falcon helmet, if not the best.

D man

June 14th, 2011
2:04 pm

I loved watching neon deon play for us. I still remember the excitement and anticipation I felt before he played his first game for us. Then they kicked the ball to him and he ran it all the way back for a touchdown. WOW!!! That’s the kind of things legends are made of. He was fun to watch and I am proud he will recognize the Falcons as his team in the hall. Congrats Deon…

Eastside

June 14th, 2011
2:09 pm

Wrong Deion has always had praise for the Falcons. He did what any paid football player should help his team win games. We can’t blame what Deion did to the falcons when he was on the other team. That was up to the falcons to stop him football 101. He left because the Smith’s never really spent money to win a super bowl. Deion was a hired gun for the rest of his career. He won the chips a player of his caliber deserve. Long live Prime Time as the 1st of many other Falcons to get into the HALL.

nash

June 14th, 2011
3:27 pm

One thing people don’t remember is the man played offense also and, that he made a bad team worth watching. I can remember being in elementary school and, teacher would talk about what Deion did on Sunday with the students

kerryb

June 14th, 2011
3:29 pm

It’s a crying shame that some of the players that are in the HOF are there and Tommy Nobis is not. He was the first Falcon draft pick ever and had a career that was more than worthy than some of the players that are there Some are there only on popularity. Tell me why Eric Dickerson is there and Tommy Nobis is not. The guy was a part of the biggest scandal in college football history.

HRPufnstuf

June 14th, 2011
3:35 pm

I’ve met Deion, and don’t think much of him as a person. But on the field, there was never anyone I liked to watch more than him, especially when he made a long run, whether chasing a pass (or pass receiver) on defense, going out for a pass on offense, or most especially, returning a kick. That high stepping he did the last few yards into the end zone was pure showboat, but pure Deion.

[...] is a new Post at Sanders sends his Falcons helmet and ball to Hall of Fame …. He was a phenomenal athlete and the best cover corner ever (best cover corner, not the best all [...]

rudy

June 14th, 2011
4:29 pm

Deion is the best two-time athlete in any decade……..great career, i enjoyed every minute of it,even after leaving atlanta..

Snatchandgrab

June 14th, 2011
7:26 pm

Everyone keeps saying Deion wasn’t a tackler. He tackled when he had too. Opposing teams didn’t pass in his direction often…that was his job to take out one half of the field…we witnessed him doing it over and over again….glad to see him going in as a Falcon…next choice for me would’ve been the Cowboys.

It Ain't Rocket Science

June 14th, 2011
7:33 pm

A special player with very unique skills. Fast as lightning and always around the ball, when it was in the air. They will not make many more like him in the game of football. Atlanta should feel honored that he chose the Falcons. Sad, the owner didn’t chose Sanders when he had the chance and let him go. He may have avoided trying to blow out the man if he caught the ball, but a push out of bounds is just as effective as tackling him and going out of bounds. He played return man and some receiver also. He knew he would get in contact as well there also, but he did it willingly and darn good.

A-DUB

June 14th, 2011
8:39 pm

PRIMETIME GOING INTO THE HOF AS A FALCON.THIS GREAT FOR THE FALCONS HE SHOULD HAVE RETIRED A FALCON BUT THE CLAMPETS OWNED THE TEAM BACK THEN I BET YOU ARTHUR WOULD HAVE NOT LET PRIME GET OUT OF ATLANTA

wisconsinfalcons

June 14th, 2011
9:08 pm

prime time should have been a Falcon for a very long time if not for life, there will be as always someone that say negative things about him or anyother person I understand it your on opinion, anywayI’m glad he is going in as a Falcon and yes his number should be retired an it is not just him Tommy Nobis, big Clude, Steve B,Jesse Tuggle,they all should be there I only hope so, I seen Deion first in Milwaukee against the packers yes he ran one back for a td only it was call back because of holding seeing him run in person he seem even faster than tv, he is a falcon for life to me I even have his rookie card alone with Brat Fave when he was a falcon thanks alot glanville for running both of them out of town enuff said.

Dwayne

June 15th, 2011
11:55 am

He is not going in as a falcon you goooobers. He is going in as a football player. He will have other memorabilia in the HOF from the cowboys and 49ers. geeeeez. By the way, he was the reason I watched the Facons when they were sorry. Greatest cover corner ever.

Dwayne

June 15th, 2011
11:56 am

*falcons*….sorry

dan

June 15th, 2011
1:56 pm

I hated Deion Sanders back in the day. LOATHED him when he was with the 49ers, and tolerated him when he played for my Dallas Cowboys. And I echo what others say about him being the best cover corner but a lousy tackler. Be that as it may, the guy on athletic ability alone, is a Hall of Famer if there every was one! Sanders had his lonest tenure with the Falcons and the Cowboys. He had more success with the 49ers and Cowboys, but I think Deion has always had a soft spot in his heart for the ATL. You got to remember, not only was he apart of the “TOO LEGIT TO QUIT” Falcons, but he was also part of that Braves’ teams in the early 1990’s that where competing for World Series. In San Francisco and Dallas, he was nothing more than a mercenary talent. But in Atlanta,most of his teammates on the Falcons and Braves have nothing but good things to say about him. I think deep down, Deion was kind of dissapointed by how his time in Atlanta ended. The Falcons organization at that time was nowhere near a Super Bowl caliber team, and Deion felt the need to take his talents elsewhere( which in hindsight was probably the right decision on his part). I’m glad that Arthur Blank has reached out to him in recent years: I think thats a classy move on the Falcons part. Sanders was one if not THE most talented player to ever wear a Falcons uniform.And I’m glad things have come full circle for him.

dan

June 15th, 2011
1:58 pm

hated Deion Sanders back in the day. LOATHED him when he was with the 49ers, and tolerated him when he played for my Dallas Cowboys. And I echo what others say about him being the best cover corner but a lousy tackler. Be that as it may, the guy on athletic ability alone, is a Hall of Famer if there ever was one! Sanders had his lonest tenure with the Falcons and the Cowboys. He had more success with the 49ers and Cowboys, but I think Deion has always had a soft spot in his heart for the ATL. You got to remember, not only was he apart of the “TOO LEGIT TO QUIT” Falcons, but he was also part of those Braves’ teams in the early 1990’s that where competing for World Series. In San Francisco and Dallas, he was nothing more than a mercenary talent. But in Atlanta,most of his teammates on the Falcons and Braves have nothing but good things to say about him. I think deep down, Deion was kind of dissapointed by how his time in Atlanta ended. The Falcons organization at that time was nowhere near a Super Bowl caliber team, and Deion felt the need to take his talents elsewhere( which in hindsight was probably the right decision on his part). I’m glad that Arthur Blank has reached out to him in recent years: I think thats a classy move on the Falcons part. Sanders was one if not THE most talented player to ever wear a Falcons uniform.And I’m glad things have come full circle for him.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

June 15th, 2011
3:27 pm

Dan — Thanks for sharing! Very thoughtful post.

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

June 15th, 2011
4:20 pm

Congrats to Deion for keeping his promise to go into the Hall of Fame as a Falcon. He had made a promise to Rankin Smith that if he ever got inducted into the Hall of Fame, he would do so as an Atlanta Falcon.

Unlike some of you nut cases who post on this blog, at least he kept his promise.

Ackshun

June 15th, 2011
6:29 pm

In case you were wondering this is why……. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP5jVoMmZjY

Steve

June 16th, 2011
6:26 am

DOL, do you think there will ever be a day when we talk about Jessie Tuggle going into the HOF? He did have several years where he led the league in tackles. He is the one I think Falcons fans especially could get wrapped around.

UGGA DAWG BBB

June 16th, 2011
5:15 pm

It truly amazes me how this man was brash and elite at his skill. Ok so what he wasnt a great tackler, but like he said ” When the buisness was brought to him he dealt with it…..Somebody else Buisness is somembody elses buisness”..When ever any athlete is a talker and speaks with sense and is arrogant hes looked at as being too cocky. Deion was Awesome, but i know it goes against The Willie Lynch Letter and its principles.