Deion Sanders rose to fame in the 1990s thanks to his skills on the field for several NFL teams over the years. Coupled with his often flashy persona, he became instantly recognizable. Sanders can even include two Super Bowl wins and an appearance at the MLB World Series thanks to his foray into professional baseball as well.
Dubbed “Prime Time” and “Neon Deion” during his pro football days, he is now regarded as one of the greatest NFL cornerbacks of all time. Sanders later went on to expand into reality television, served as a sports analyst and eventually pivoted to coaching college football. So, with a career as illustrious as this, exactly how much is Deion Sanders worth today?
Deion Sanders’ Early Life
Deion Sanders is a native Floridian who was born in Fort Myers in 1967. He immersed himself in football at a young age and would later become a letterman and All-State honoree in not only football but also basketball and baseball by the time he was enrolled in North Fort Myers High School. Later, in 1985, he was selected for the Florida High School Association All-Century Team where he was joined by 32 other elite athletes from around the state.
Early Hints Of A Draft And College Career
Because he played multiple sports at the high school level, Deion Sanders drew attention from major league scouts, including the Kansas City Royals. He was initially selected in the sixth round of the 1985 MLB draft but opted not to sign with the team. Instead, he initially enrolled at Florida State University where he again played multiple sports for the Florida State Seminoles — football, track and basketball.
Even while sometimes playing multiple games per day, Deion Sanders managed to rack up stats that made him stand out as a stellar athlete. As a cornerback for the Seminoles, Sanders earned a two-time consensus All-American cornerback award in both 1987 and 1988. He earned a third-team All-American in 1986 and helped bring the team to the Sugar Bowl several times.
In 1988, Sanders won the Jim Thorpe Award and also had his number 2 jersey retired after clinching a victory over Auburn University with an interception just five seconds before the game ended at the 1989 Sugar Bowl. Similar stats played out across baseball and track for Sanders.
Deion Sanders Goes Pro
Arguably, Deion Sanders is best known as a football player. However, he also had a solid MLB career that often played out simultaneously.
Starting Out With The MLB
While many people know Deion Sanders as a professional football player, he got his professional sports career started in baseball. While he opted not to sign with the Kansas City Royals when he was drafted before college in 1985, he did eventually sign with the New York Yankees in the 1988 MLB draft. Initially, he started his debut 1989 season in the team’s Class AA Eastern League Division farm team, the Albany-Colonie Yankees. At the same time, he was in negotiations with the NFL Atlanta Falcons.
In 1990, Deion Sanders finally shifted to the major league and debuted on the New York Yankees, but he would only play one year with the team before eventually signing with the Atlanta Braves, who he played with from 1991 to 1994. While he missed the postseason with the Braves because of an NFL contract clause, Sanders later reworked his contract with the Falcons to allow him to do so for future seasons.
1992 saw Deion Sanders head to the World Series with the Atlanta Braves, but unfortunately the team did not win against the Toronto Blue Jays. By 1994, Sanders was traded to the Cincinnati Reds where he played for just one year before then being traded again to the San Francisco Giants in 1995. Ironically, he returned to the Cincinnati Reds in 1997 and then again in 2001. Meanwhile, he held a minor league contract throughout the 1990s with the Toronto Blue Jays. Eventually, at the request of insiders at both the MLB and NFL to focus on one sport, Sanders retired from baseball and concentrated on football.
An Enduring Football Career
Deion Sanders initially entered the NFL after being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1989 NFL Draft as a cornerback. He played for the team until 1994, during which time he scored 10 touchdowns. Additionally while with the Falcons, he led the league in kickoff return yards, yards per return and kick returns for touchdown.
In 1994 he signed with the San Francisco 49ers and in his debut season with the franchise, he had one of his best seasons earning six interceptions. He was later voted as NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. That season also saw him and the 49ers head to Super Bowl XXIX where they beat the San Diego Chargers. This was Deion Sanders’ first championship ring.
A year later, Deion Sanders signed with the Dallas Cowboys with a record-making contract for its time. He agreed to a seven-year contract for $35 million with a $12.999 million signing bonus, making Sanders the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL at that time. In his first year with the Cowboys, Sanders again headed to Super Bowl (XXX) where Dallas won — his second championship win and a back-to-back victory for him.
After four additional seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Sanders was released from his contract and signed to the Washington Redskins (now Commanders) who offered a seven-year deal for $56 million. However, he only played one year with them and opted to retire in 2001. Yet, by the end of 2002 Sanders decided that retirement was not for him and wanted to play again. In 2004, Deion Sanders opted to sign with the Baltimore Ravens for a one-year deal. Ultimately, he played two seasons and retired for good in 2006.
Deion Sanders’ Post-Athletic Career
Deion Sanders’ flashy persona throughout his sports career elevated his profile and made it easy for him to segue into other ventures. Even during his short initial retirement between 2001 and 2004, he served as a pre-game commentator for CBS’ “The NFL Today.” With this show, he was known for creating mock sketches where he could showcase his personality.
He was also a regular guest on ESPN and specifically on the ESPN Radio Dallas affiliate. Sanders also served as an analyst for the NFL Network on the afternoon show, “NFL GameDay”, as well as “Thursday Night Football.”
Shifting Into Reality And Scripted Television
In 2008, Sanders launched a reality show with his then wife, Pilar Biggers-Sanders. As with most reality shows, the series centered on the couple’s everyday life and experiences as a blended family raising five children (two from his previous marriage). He also made several guest appearances on a variety of shows including “The League”, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls”, “Lip Sync Battle”, “Tiny House Nation” and even in the docuseries Coach Prime that follows Deion Sanders in his current role as a college football coach.
Deion Sanders As A Coach
While most people are aware that Deion Sanders coaches college football, before he shifted to the collegiate level, he helped coach high school football too. Sanders served as a head coach at the high school level from 2012 through 2015, also serving as a defensive coordinator at his son’s high school, Trinity Christian High School.
In 2020 he became the head coach of HBCU Jackson State University. Notably, he led the team to the Southwestern Athletic Conference title for the 2021 season and continued on to the Celebration Bowl (although they did not win). In particular, Sanders’ involvement with Jackson State University helped to bring more visibility to HBCU athletic programs. As a result, the quality of recruits to HBCUs grew exponentially, as did the revenue earned at these games. In 2022, Sanders signed on as the head coach for the University of Colorado – Boulder where he made a stunning debut in the Pac-12 conference for the 2023 season.
Deion Sanders’ Current Net Worth
Deion Sanders’ current net worth is estimated at $45 million as of the time of publication for this article. Much of that can be attributed to his multi-million dollar contracts he has signed over the years, as well as his appearances as a sports analyst for outlets like ESPN, CBS and the NFL Network. Sources note that with the NFL network alone, he drew an annual salary of $1 million as an analyst.
Meanwhile, when he coached at Jackson State University, he drew a four-year $1.2 million contract. And, when Sanders pivoted to the University of Colorado – Boulder, he inked a five-year deal that was worth nearly $30 million. This made him the highest-paid coach in Colorado history.