Thursday, December 10, 1998
Sanders is limping, and so are Cowboys
By DENNE H. FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Deion Sanders has gone from "prime
time" to "pine time." And now the Dallas Cowboys
know what kind of a team they are without him -- not very good.
Sanders has an injured left toe that has him limping instead
of dancing in the end zone.
The Cowboys have lost consecutive games without his talents
on defense, special teams and occasional guest appearances on
offense. His teammates feed off his fire and big-play production.
"We miss a guy like Deion," quarterback Troy Aikman
said. "We can't lose a player of his ability and say we
are as good."
Dallas, the best team in a bad NFC East, are sitting pretty
for the playoffs with an 8-5 record. All the Cowboys need is
a win at Kansas City on Sunday or an Arizona loss at Philadelphia
to clinch their sixth division title in the last seven seasons.
However, Sunday's humiliating 22-3 loss to the New Orleans
Saints has cast a pall over the team. The prospect of a December
dash into the playoffs and then onto the Super Bowl is questionable
after the Saints exposed the Cowboys as a struggling team.
Sanders could be the catalyst for a big bounce back. He was
still wearing a heavy bandage on his left toe in the Dallas locker
room on Wednesday and walking slowly.
However, coach Chan Gailey said, "Deion feels like he
will be able to play."
If he does, Sanders puts these kind of defensive numbers into
He has five interceptions, including one returned for a 71-yard
yard touchdown, against the New York Giants.
He's the second-ranked NFL punt returner should he decide
to play special teams. He has returned two punts for touchdowns.
On offense -- and he probably wouldn't play offense because
of missed practices -- Sanders has caught seven passes for 100
"You can't lose a player of Deion's talent and not feel
it on the field," Gailey said.
"Deion coming back would help get us going in a lot of
areas," running back Emmitt Smith said. "He could get
Minnesota scorched the Dallas secondary for four touchdown
passes without Sanders in a 46-36 loss and New Orleans hit an
89-yarder for a score last week.
Rich Gannon of the Chiefs will be the quarterback Sunday,
and he doesn't seem too concerned about Sanders coming back.
"He's a great athlete and has great instincts the way
he breaks on the ball," Gannon said. "But we're going
to run our offense and do what we do best. We're not going in
one direction or the other because of Deion. We're just going
to dial up our offense."
In the past, a quarterback dialing up Deion has called a wrong
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AP, KRT, The Abilene Reporter-News
and Reporter OnLine
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