When Deion Sanders Was Drafted To The NFL In 1989, He Made Sure His Mother Never Had To Work Another Day

Deion Sanders made a pledge to himself that he would retire his mother.

Sanders, born in Fort Myers, FL, was raised by his mother, Connie, who after a divorce from his dad would later marry Willie Knight when Sanders was 8 years old. Around that age, he began to play baseball and football, according to WCPO-9 News. Sanders’ greatness would be on display as a high school student attending North Fort Myers High School occupying his time in three sports as an all-state performer: football, baseball and basketball.

During his collegiate years following high school, he attended Florida State University between 1985 and 1989 and became a two-time All-American in football as well as led the baseball team to the College World Series, the outlet notes.

In 1989, Sanders made it to the pros, selected fifth by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round, ESPN reports.

The moment was not only significant for elevating Sanders in the athletic world but it allowed him to fulfill a long-held promise to his mother, who once cleaned hospitals.

“I admired this game. I liked this game,” Sanders said in 2011 when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “It taught me how to be a man. It taught me how to get up. It taught me how to live and play with pain. This game taught me so much about people. It taught me so much about timing. It taught me so much about focus, dedication, submitting oneself, and sacrifices… and I went at this game and attacked this game because I made a promise that I needed this game to fulfill.”

He continued, “…And I said ‘Mama’ because I was tired of seeing her go to work and come home all tired. I said ‘I’m gonna be rich one day. Mama I’m gonna make a lot of money and you would never have to work another day of your life.'”

Sanders remained true to his word and retired his mother in 1989.

“From that day forth in ’89, my mother hasn’t had to work another day in her life,” he said, according to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. “You know how long that’s been? I know I look young, but I’m not. That’s a long time, man. So that means I’ve been consistent. And I wanted to exhaust everything I could out of that.”