Biggs: Deion says he's done no wrong
The NFL Network put its own star Deion Sanders under the microscope this morning on the air, asking him about his involvement in the Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant issues that are swirling.
Either that, or the NFL Network gave Sanders a broad platform to talk about how much good he does mentoring young players, and how much he cares about their families and, oh yeah, how much good agent Eugene Parker does.
Bryant, considered by some to be the top wide receiver prospect in school right now, has been suspended by the NCAA for lying to investigators and claiming he had not been to Sanders’ residence, which in itself would not be a violation. Sanders is also at the center of a tampering allegation made by the San Francisco 49ers against the New York Jets involving Crabtree.
“I am very confused,’’ Sanders said in an interview with the Network’s Jason La Canfora. “I am confused why there is an investigation on Dez Bryant as well as Michael Crabtree. It seems like it is all points back to (agent) Eugene (Parker). I think people are upset about his success. I am elated about it. But I am not helping him in any means. Gene has seven first-round picks the last two years. I don’t know not one of them. Check the records. I didn’t even introduce Eugene to Michael Crabtree. You know how Eugene got Michael Crabtree? By Larry Fitzgerald. It’s common sense.
“I don’t have time to benefit financially (from Parker’s clients). I don’t prostitute kids, man. I love them. I try to nurture them. I try to challenge them, change them and take them to another level and inspire them.’’
Asked if he has ever steered a player to Parker, Sanders also denied that.
“But if a guy asks me, if a Devin Hester asks me about Eugene, I am going to tell him the truth,’’ said Sanders, who did his best to steer the interview into an endorsement for Parker.
Sanders said that Parker told him that there were teams willing to trade for Crabtree before the deadline passed this summer, an issue that is that the heart of the tampering case against the Jets, one that will be difficult for the 49ers to prove. At the time, Sanders said why would Crabtree accept what San Francisco was offering if another team was willing to pay him $40 million?
“Because Eugene Parker told me,’’ Sanders said. “That was my source. Eugene Parker told me that the San Francisco 49ers told him there were two teams who were going to trade for Crabtree but, guess what, they were not going to trade him.
“If a team is willing to make a trade for you, common sense is they know what you want. So they’re not going to trade for you, understanding you are going to hold out. That’s why I said if a team is going to trade for him, they’re going to pay him. That’s common sense.”
Sanders claims he’s been involved with Bryant because he wants to help him. He says Bryant’s 34-year-old mother has legal issues, his 17-year-old sister already has a child and his 16-year-old brother who is mixed up in gangs and drugs.
“To help this kid, and his family structure, that’s a no-brainer,’’ Sanders said. “That’s what I do. That’s who I am.’’
La Canfora, who did a good job at least keeping Sanders on point, said that the NCAA is investigating cell phone records for Bryant and Bryant’s girlfriend to determine whether or not he has improperly received benefits.
“Had I been a liar or falsified any incident or evidence, my story would have collaborated with Dez,’’ said Sanders, who added that Bryant panicked and lied to NCAA investigators not knowing he had not done anything wrong.
Sanders denied that he has worked at all as a runner or recruiter for veteran agent Eugene Parker, who represented Sanders during his playing career, and is the agent for Crabtree.
“I’m emotionally tied [to Bryant’s] family,’’ Sanders said. “Do the math. Mother is 34, kid is 20. I am emotional about the cycle of pain that is going forward with the mother, and the daughter now the brother. Habitual with drugs. Football is football. Football will take care of itself. I’m emotional about he lives of the kids. That is what I am more concerned about.’’
In the end, Sanders doesn’t know what the fuss is about involving either receiver.
“I really don't see what I could do (differently),’’ he said. “You know why? Because I did no wrong.’’
Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs