'I'm a grown man': Deion Sanders fires back at Colorado State coach Jay Norvell's glasses remark

Colorado State head football coach Jay Norvell appeared to criticize Deion Sanders Wednesday when he said on his weekly coach's show that he takes his hat and glasses off when he talks to "grown-ups" because that’s what his mother taught him.

By contrast, Sanders often wears a hat, sunglasses or both at news conferences or in interviews when appearing on camera as head coach of Colorado. That’s his style. And now Sanders has fired back at Norvell as his team prepares to host Colorado State (0-1) in a game Saturday night in Boulder on ESPN.

"I’m a grown man," Sanders said on his weekly coach's show Thursday in Boulder. "Don’t tell me what I supposed to wear and what I don’t supposed to wear. Please."

Norvell’s comments came after he said his players have had to do "videos" with ESPN this week in the buildup to Saturday’s game. He said they came away from that "with a chip on their shoulder."

"They’re tired of all that stuff," Norvell said on the show. "They really are tired of it. And I sat down with ESPN today, and I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder. I told them, 'I took my hat off, and I took my glasses off.' And I said, 'When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off.' That’s what my mother taught me."

The CSU fans in the crowd at Norvell’s show in Fort Collins then clapped and laughed in support, seeming to know exactly whom Norvell was talking about even if he didn’t mention Sanders by name.

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Norvell also didn't seem to care that he might be playing with fire by making these comments. After finishing 1-11 last year, the Buffaloes are 2-0 under Sanders at least partly because they said they have fed off the perception that they have been disrespected by the outside world or the opposing coach, as was the case in last week’s win over Nebraska.

"They’re not gonna like us, no matter what we say or do," Norvell said at the show, which is hosted by a local restaurant. "It doesn’t matter. OK, so let’s go up there and play. That’s just how I feel about it. I don’t mean to take over the show. I’m just tired of it. I mean, I’m tired of all that stuff. And I know everybody else is too. So let’s go play."

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders before the game against Nebraska at Folsom Field.
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders before the game against Nebraska at Folsom Field.

Sanders, 56, used Norvell’s comments to fire up his team at practice Thursday, as documented in a video by his son Deion Jr.

“I’m minding my own business watching some film, trying to get ready, trying to get out here and be the best coach I can be and I look up and I read some bull junk that they done said about us, once again,” Sanders told his team at practice Thursday. “Why would you want to talk about us when we don’t talk about nobody? All we do is go out here, work our butts off and do our job on Saturday. But when they give us ammunition … they done mess around and made it what?”

“Personal,” his team responded.

“It was just gonna be a good game,” Sanders told them. “They done messed around and made it…”

“Personal,” his team answered.

“It was gonna be a great test, a battle of Colorado, but they done mess around and made it…”

“Personal,” his team said again.

In a separate remark on the same video, Sanders even referenced Norvell’s comment about what his mother taught him, saying, “Now he’s messin’ with my mom.”

Sanders also responded on his show Thursday

Sanders appeared on his own coach's show Thursday at a restaurant in Boulder wearing sunglasses and a Buffaloes' cap. The show's host, Mark Johnson, brought up Norvell's comments by saying he wanted to ask Sanders a fashion question.

"If I were to sit here on stage and I put on sunglasses and maybe reached down and put my hat on on top of that," Johnson said before Sanders interjected.

"I know where you’re going," said Sanders, also known as Coach Prime.

"How would you feel about that if I did that?" Johnson asked him.

Sanders responded by asking him, "Is that how we know you?"

"That’s right," Sanders said. "That’s how we know you.  I’m not gonna get in front of you and change who I am just because you’re here.  I don’t do that. I’m consistent with who I am."

Colorado State is a 23 1/2-point underdog against Colorado Saturday after the Buffs beat Nebraska last week at home, 36-14. After the latter game, Sanders’ son and quarterback, Shedeur, said the game was "extremely personal" to him in light of what Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said and did before the game, which pales in comparison to the more direct shot taken at Sanders by Norvell.

Rhule had stepped on the Buffaloes’ logo at midfield before the game, offending Shedeur Sanders. But Rhule said afterward he didn’t mean any disrespect. Earlier this year, Rhule also made a general comment about his own team-building strategy but didn’t mention Sanders by name or criticize Colorado directly. Colorado took it as criticism anyway, since it seemed like he was contrasting his strategy to Colorado's

Now this.

Sanders elaborated more on his sunglasses habit on his show Thursday.

"My eyes are extremely tired," he said. "I get up at 4:30 (a.m.) I’m in the office probably by 5. So by this time you see me, I’m worn, you know? So Imma trying to really hide my eyes. Eyes tell everything about a person. That’s really why I do it. And I look good doing it."

Norvell was hired as CSU’s head coach in December 2021 and has not faced the Buffs yet in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Colorado has won eight of the last 10 in the series and has dominated the instate rivalry with a record of 67-22-2.

Shadeur Sanders responds to Norvell

Appearing on ESPN Friday morning, Colorado quarterback Shadeur Sanders said "you gotta be a fool" to make things personal, in regards to Norvell's comment.

"You got his son playing quarterback, his other son playing safety. Come on now, you're asking for it," Shadeur said. "It's just extra motivation."

Shadeur Sanders has thrown for 903 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in the Buffaloes' first two games.

Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. Email:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colorado's Deion Sanders fires back at Jay Norvell over glasses remark