Work in Sports
Cowboys not sure if Sanders is in plans for next season
Posted: Friday January 28, 2000 06:48 PM
DALLAS (AP) -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has backed off a previous statement that he'd like to see All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders in a Dallas uniform for the rest of his career.
Injuries, a return to baseball and salary-cap concerns have left Sanders' future with the Cowboys in question.
"There are a lot of factors that will come into play on what Deion's future is with the Dallas Cowboys," Jones was quoted as saying in The Dallas Morning News on Friday. "I don't have a handle on that at this time.
"We are working this spring to come up with a solution."
The animated defender-punt returner returned from career-threatening toe surgery last year to play in the club's final 14 regular-season games. But earlier this week, a doctor repaired a medial meniscus tear on Sanders' right knee. Sanders also has been seen limping, with a cast on his ankle. The ankle was sprained in a Christmas Eve loss to New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Sanders, 32, could miss a significant portion of the 2000 season to play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, leaving Dallas thin at cornerback. Kevin Smith and Kevin Mathis, the top two corners behind Sanders, have combined to miss 21 games over the past two seasons.
The Cowboys and Sanders agreed on a five-year $51.5 million contract last off-season, knowing that the two sides would be back at the negotiating table a few months later.
Even if Sanders never plays another down for the Cowboys, according to the newspaper, he will still consume $6.9 million over the next two seasons -- counting $3.7 million against the salary cap in 2000 and $3.2 million in 2001.
Sanders signed with the Cowboys as a free agent five years ago. He has missed a total of 17 games in that period -- one game more than a complete regular season.