When Deion was “Prime Time”

When Deion was “Prime Time”

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

There have been plenty of two-sport athletes over the years. Longtime University of Hawaii fans may remember Jeremiah Ostrowski playing both football and basketball; Tara Hittle playing volleyball and basketball; and Chris Walz playing baseball and basketball.

The most accomplished of these athletes, of course, has to be Bo Jackson, who is the only person to play in both the MLB All-Star Game and the NFL Pro Bowl.

But even “Bo Knows” that, at least for one week, Deion Sanders was the greatest two-sport performer of them all.

Like Jackson, Sanders has a unique standing among noteworthy multi-sport performers. For example, “Prime Time” is the only person to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl. There was also Oct. 11, 1992. On that day, Sanders suited up for the Atlanta Falcons in a 21-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins (he returned 2 kickoffs and a punt, and had a 9-yard pass reception). Immediately after the game, he caught a flight to Pittsburgh and boarded a helicopter to play in the Atlanta Braves’ NLCS game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would have been the first person to play in two different professional leagues in the same day. Unfortunately, he did not get a chance to get into the game. Said Braves manager Bobby Cox afterward: “The situation never came close, so I never came close to using him.” The Pirates shelled the Braves, 7-1.

There was also that eventful week in September of 1989. On Sept. 5, playing left field for the New York Yankees, Sanders belted a 2-run homer off of Seattle’s Jerry Reed in the top of the fourth inning. Just five days later, in his NFL debut for the Falcons, Sanders returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown. “Once I get out there,” he told reporters after the game, “it’s pretty much ‘Prime Time.’”

Sanders remains the only person in history to hit a home run in the majors and score a TD in the NFL in the same week.

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