Deion Sanders says 49ers never offered him contract in ’95

Deion Sanders seldom misses a chance to enhance his own image. Even if he’s got to bend the truth a little to do it.

The NFL Network analyst and Hall of Fame cornerback known as “Prime Time” had a tall tale to tell KNBR hosts Greg Papa and John Lund Tuesday when addressing the last Super Bowl championship 25 years ago following the 1994 season.

Sanders signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the 49ers (he was also playing Major League Baseball at the time) and helped the 49ers win Super Bowl XXIX in Miami in a 49-26 rout over the San Diego Chargers.

Noting teammates Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald and Eric Davis in the 49ers defensive backfield, Sanders said it was “one of the best secondaries assembled. Why didn’t we get another opportunity to play together?”

Why? Here’s Deion’s version:

“Do you know how I found out I wasn’t coming back? I was playing outfield for the Giants and we had a day game and after the game I went over to eat at some restaurant and I think preseason had commenced. I seen a dude on TV with (No.) 21 on. Well, I guess it’s over. No joke. True story . . . never made an offer.”

Sanders was indeed playing outfield for the Giants, and exhibition games took place on Saturday evenings on July 29 against Denver and Aug. 13 against San Diego. On those two dates, the Giants had day games at Candlestick Park.

The problem? No one else was issued No. 21. The 49ers, in fact, kept Sanders locker intact with his name plate “Sanders 21” in hopes he would return after the baseball season concluded. When Sanders was involved in a multi-player trade and sent from the Cincinnati Reds to the Giants on July 21, the 49ers made sure one of their No. 21 jerseys hung in his locker upon arrival.

Given that Sanders was playing baseball, it was a late free agency. The Cowboys were big suitors, as were the Raiders, Dolphins and Broncos. The 49ers weren’t willing to spend as much as the Cowboys, and president Carmen Policy feared the worst after Dallas owner Jerry Jones signed a sponsorship deal with Nike, which also had a contract with Sanders.

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