Deion Sanders Doesn't Want to Be Remembered for His Style

A fashion icon during his playing days, the Hall of Famer is keeping things casual these days

Former football player Deion Sanders being interviewed in 2016 in New York.  (Bryan Bedder/Getty for On Location Experiences)
Former football player Deion Sanders being interviewed in 2016 in New York. (Bryan Bedder/Getty for On Location Experiences)
Bryan Bedder

As a younger man, Deion Sanders once was quoted as saying: “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” Now that he’s a bit older and wiser, Sanders, whose 53rd birthday is less than two months away, says he’s less focused on the “they pay good” part of that outlook.

“The philosophy is look good, feel good,” he tells InsideHook. “Most of the time, if you feel good about the way you look, I mean that’s a wonderful way to start a day.”

During the lockdown, Sanders has been spending his days at home in Texas wearing slides from OOFOS, the recovery footwear brand he has partnered up with after discovering how well their products soothed his ailing feet.

“Your feet are everything. I’ve learned that through my years of playing two sports,” he says. “I’ve had three toe surgeries and I’m in need of one more so these shoes are everything to me. They’re not only suitable for your wellness, but also they look darn good and they’re comfortable.”

Deion Sanders in the OOFOS Mesh Low Recovery Shoe while on vacation. (OOFOS)

Sanders, who was somewhat of a fashion maven during his playing days at Florida State as well as in the NFL and Major League Baseball, says his style hasn’t changed over the years, even though it’s hard to picture the guy who used to rock custom-made Prime Time windbreakers and mink coats now being comfortable in socks and sandals.

“I don’t get dressed up too much anymore, just casual,” he says. “I don’t think my style has changed. It’s just who you are. I don’t know anybody that don’t want to look good and feel good. I think what has changed is the understanding of who I am. And you’ve had an opportunity to see who I am instead of hear about who I am. I think that has changed.”

According to Sanders, having a distinctive look was never a focus for him, it was just something that was ingrained from an early age.

“I think I’ve always done that. That was the expectation where I grew in Ft. Myers,” he says. “I’m from Florida, man. That’s how we grew up. I don’t think it’s important. I think that’s just who we are.”

Deion Sanders returns a punt for a TD in the 1995 NFC Divisional Playoff Game. (Joseph Patronite/Getty)

Sanders, who was almost always instantly recognizable on the football field thanks to his tendency to wear a bandana on his head, a turtleneck under his uniform and a towel draped down his leg, says he never intended to distinguish himself from his teammates.

“I like a uniform team,” he says. “You don’t stand out with a towel, bandana or a turtleneck. You stand out with play. Play is what makes you stand out, not the accessory. I never tried to do anything. I just wanted to be me. You’re just looking at a guy who had substance and style and was successful. So my uniform may have looked different than anyone, but it wasn’t.”

In addition to his look, a big part of what made the two-time Super Bowl winner and eight-time Pro Bowler so special was that he was a two-sport athlete at the highest respective levels. These days, that doesn’t really exist.

“They don’t have the nerve to,” Sanders says when asked why athletes have stopped following his lead. “I think they’re great athletes, they just don’t have the nerve to do both. They’re allowing someone with a pen and a phone and iPad to tell them what they can’t do instead of them telling them what they can. I was playing two sports when I was six.”

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