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Archive for Monday, October 1, 2001

Sanders critical of Schottenheimer

Former ‘Skin blames coach for team’s woes

October 1, 2001

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— Deion Sanders called the Washington Redskins "a team in disarray" and said Sunday that coach Marty Schottenheimer was the reason he retired rather than return to the team.

Sanders, hired as a feature reporter and playoff contributor for CBS' NFL coverage, questioned the desire of his old club.

"I was in a stage of my career where I didn't want to accept change," he said. "I came in under the assumption that (ex-coach) Norv Turner was going to be in place. I didn't see a winning forecast in the future. (Owner) Dan Snyder allowed Schottenheimer to have control of the whole situation. This is the 21st century. Guys are not buying into his system."

In a conference call from his home near Dallas, Sanders questioned the Redskins' release of quarterback Jeff George after just two games.

"That was a diversion to buy time," he said. "He retained 23 of 53 players from a roster of 53 the previous year. He got rid of trainers, the equipment managers they're all gone. Ninety-five percent of the personnel are gone. It's a whole new atmosphere.

"When I played there last year, everybody was talking about chemistry. I don't see anybody talking about chemistry this year. There is none because they have a bunch of new faces all trying to reach a common goal. But I don't think that goal will be reached any time soon."

Sanders said his retirement after 13 years in the NFL was permanent.

"I'm done," he said. "I'm enjoying my kids. I'm enjoying fishing daily."

Sean McManus, president of CBS Sports, promised that adding the retired star would not alter the makeup of the network's pregame show.

"I think our talent is doing a good job," he said. "The ratings are up 15 percent. We're not firing guys on 'NFL Today' to bring in Deion. When you have the opportunity to add somebody with the stature of Deion, you grab it. He wants to be dedicated to the profession of broadcasting. He wants to learn and be the best in the business."

McManus said Sanders would do six features for CBS and do some additional work on the playoffs.

"I plan to be me," Sanders said. "They asked for Deion Sanders. I can't be anyone else."

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