By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — On Sunday afternoon, Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters followed up his historic level of unwillingness to tackle from Week 8 with a more run-of-the-mill whiff on a tackle attempt in Week 9.
Peters threw a diving shoulder toward the ankles of Ezekiel Elliott, who leaped over Peters to gain a few extra yards. On the broadcast, first-year color commentator Tony Romo commented that Peters is such a poor tackler that, “He makes Deion Sanders look good at tackling sometimes.”
It was a shot at Sanders, technically, but it wasn’t off base in the least. It’s been reported that Sanders wouldn’t even wear shoulder pads at some practices and he’d explain it by saying, “I’m not gonna tackle anyone anyway.” It’s also been said that Sanders has been known to openly discuss his “business decisions” to let speeding ball carriers pass on by, lest they injure him in some way.
There’s plenty of video evidence out there, too.
So it wasn’t really a shot at Sanders at all. If anything, it was a comment that might upset Peters, who’s still playing and probably doesn’t enjoy being called out on a broadcast that aired in every market except for the Seattle and San Francisco markets. A proper response from Sanders would have been a dig at Romo’s golf game, or something along those lines.
Nevertheless, Sanders put his thin skin on display when he took to the NFL Network airwaves to tear down Romo as a player.
“Ten years as a starter, you’re 2-4 in the playoffs. You ain’t won nothing,” Sanders said. “I got a gold jacket that I didn’t buy. Dak [Prescott] says hi. And bye.”
Sanders boasted that he had a lot of ammunition for the battle, before asking someone off camera for Romo’s interception total.
“You know you never won the big one — you know you never won the big one — so stop, man. Leave me alone,” Sanders said. “I tried to take the high road but I don’t know the address.”
It wasn’t really a situation where Sanders needed to take any road. Tackling was not part of the skill-set he brought to the football field, and that’s something he’s acknowledged throughout his life. He still was a Hall of Fame talent as a cover corner, as evidenced by that gold jacket he boasted about, and by his 53 interceptions, nine defensive touchdowns, and nine touchdowns in punt and kick returns. Nobody’s ever disputed his talent, just as nobody’s ever argued for his physical prowess in stopping ball carriers.
Sanders also engaged int he conversation on Twitter:
And he then declared that he’d only be dealing in positivity for the day. Any negativity from anyone would result in getting blocked on Twitter.
This wasn’t the first instance of Sanders taking exception to such a criticism, as he didn’t respond too kindly to Rodney Harrison pointing out all of his missed tackles back in January of 2009. You’d think that in the near-decade that’s passed, Sanders might have used GPS technology to find that high road.
Nevertheless, Sanders got pretty nasty in firing shots at Romo, who likely worried a bit more about offending active players than he worried about offending retired players when he started the job a few months ago.