Shaw: Deion ran 4.38 in 40

Updated: August 28, 2004, 12:43 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Don't be so quick to discount Deion Sanders' comeback. His quickness in the 40 is another reason the retired cornerback might be playing in an NFL stadium near you.

Sanders' personal trainer, Tom Shaw, told ESPNEWS that Sanders is "definitely coming back." Sanders' time on grass in the 40 is 4.38, according to Shaw.

According to FOXSports.com, Sanders is planning to join the Ravens on Wednesday -- he's been expected to make a final decision by Monday whether to play -- and will make the trip to New York for Thursday's preseason game against the Giants.

Shaw, a 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.

Ravens coach Brian Billick told ESPN's Andrea Kremer recently that he expects Sanders to make a final decision by Aug. 30 on whether he will play for Baltimore this season.

The Ravens play Detroit on Aug. 28 and finish the preseason Sept. 2 against the New York Giants. Billick did not say whether Deion would play in that preseason game if he decided to return.

Sanders, 37, has not played since the 2000 season, which he spent with the Washington Redskins. He retired on the eve of the team's training camp in 2001, though considered making a comeback in 2002. At that point, Sanders discussed the possibility of playing for Oakland. His intention was taken seriously enough that, because the 'Skins had placed him on their reserve-retired list, the Chargers claimed him off waivers before the playoff-bound Raiders could make a move.

Last year, Sanders told ESPN.com that he wanted to be considered for the head coaching position with the Atlanta Falcons, the team with which he began his playing career, as a first-round choice in the '89 draft out of Florida State. He has worked since his retirement as a studio analyst, but this spring was bumped from the CBS pregame show when the network offered him only half of the $2 million he wanted to continue in the role he'd had for three years.

A seven-time Pro Bowl performer, Sanders was one of the league's most electrifying performers during most of his 12-year career. In addition to defining the term "shut-down" corner, he occasionally played on offense and also returned kickoffs and punts. His résumé includes 18 touchdowns.

Early in his career, Sanders excelled on two fronts, becoming the only professional athlete to play in both the Super Bowl (with the 49ers in '94 and Cowboys in '95) and the World Series (Braves, '92). As a Braves outfielder and a cornerback for the Falcons, Sanders was also the only pro athlete ever to hit a home run and score a touchdown within a seven-day span. The owner of 48 career interceptions, Sanders is the only player in Super Bowl history to have both an interception and a pass reception.

Information from ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli was used in this report.

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