The Curious Case of Deion Sanders

He’s found his calling as a mentor. But critics wonder if he’s too good to be true.

  1. Early morning, around 6:30, is the most peaceful time of Deion Sanders' day. As light warms his 142-acre estate in Prosper, Texas, just north of Dallas, Sanders lies in bed with his cell phone open, preparing a text message. This text is important. Since Sanders retired from the NFL in 2006, he has focused on his unofficial, often controversial career as a mentor to hundreds of football players, ranging from Pee Wees to pros. The guidance begins each morning with a text -- not always novel, not always in decipherable English, but as regular as the sunrise -- to about 100 players. Many of their names are stored in a group called Kids.

    You're familiar with a lot of these men. "Ray" is Ray Lewis; "7" is Michael Vick. You've become more familiar with others simply because they popped up on Sanders' radar: "Noel" is Noel Devine, the West Virginia running back whom Sanders once tried to adopt; "Dez" is Dez Bryant, the former Oklahoma State receiver who was suspended for most of this past se...

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