Sources: No Ravens deal yet, official or not

Originally Published: August 19, 2004
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

In the latest sign that Deion Sanders is serious about a potential comeback with the Baltimore Ravens, personal trainer Tom Shaw will go to Dallas soon to help ramp up the workouts of the seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback, ESPN.com has learned.

Shaw, of New Orleans, has worked with Sanders in the past. The onetime college track coach, who prefers to be billed as a "performance enhancement specialist," is frequently retained by agent Eugene Parker, who represents Sanders, to help prepare clients for the annual predraft combine workouts.

It is believed that Shaw will arrive in Dallas, where Sanders has been working out in an effort to gauge his own conditioning before committing to a comeback, in the next few days. He essentially will supervise Sanders' daily routine, something he also has done previously for the future Hall of Famer.

One of the country's most highly regarded trainers, Shaw has worked with hundreds of current and former NFL players.

Said one member of the Sanders camp: "This will be a good test for Deion because Tom will push him."

Sources close to Sanders debunked reports that there is already an oral agreement with the Ravens, who would use the 12-year veteran as a nickel cornerback. Those sources reiterated that Sanders will take about two weeks to determine the viability of returning to the NFL after a three-season hiatus. They said Shaw will help formalize the workouts and perhaps intensify the regimen.

Confidants of Sanders, while acknowledging that he is leaning toward the comeback, have said they are still not certain what he will decide.

Baltimore officials, who early in the week were purposely vague and intentionally cryptic about their interest in Sanders, have now thrown open the door for a possible return. That said, the Ravens want Sanders to be in camp by the final preseason game at the latest. There have been rumblings that Sanders might prefer to delay his comeback until November, leaving him time to see whether the Ravens are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

League sources said Baltimore officials are not interested in such an arrangement.

Ever the lightning rod, Sanders took batting practice with the Texas Rangers before their Wednesday night game, bristling at queries about his football plans. Despite having not picked up a bat in about three years, Sanders stroked several batting practice home runs. He then huddled briefly with Rangers officials.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

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