The Oakland Raiders will not be a part of "Primetime." Well, at least the Deion Sanders version.
The San Diego Chargers claimed sanders on Tuesday, meaning he will not become a Raider or return to the NFL this season. Five teams put in claims for the former All-Pro cornerback. Therefore, Sanders can't follow through on his plan of returning to football with Oakland. ESPN.com reported the Chargers claimed Sanders and will put him on their retired-reserve list.
Kansas City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Tennessee also put in bids for Sanders. Waiver selections are made in inverse order of standing. The Chiefs and Chargers are both 8-7, but the Chargers get an earlier waiver pick because they have a weaker schedule than the Chiefs. The Raiders, with a 10-5 record, had a lowest pick than the aforementioned five teams.
Sanders cannot play for the team that claimed him because he will have to be placed on its reserve-retired list, the same list he was on with Washington. The only way Sanders could have returned this season was to clear waivers and then sign with the team of his choice, which likely would have been Oakland. Sanders, who has been a CBS studio analyst since retiring from Washington after the 2000 season, said Sunday he was considering a comeback.
Speculation of a potential Sanders return caused a stir at the Raiders' facility in Alameda. The Raiders were aware that the seven-time Pro Bowler might be claimed by an AFC playoff team looking to spoil the Raiders' plans, could claim Sanders.
Here's what a few Oakland players said today before being made aware of San Diego claiming Sanders:
Cornerback Terrence Shaw: "It would be a great chance to play with Primetime. It's an honor but all we're talking about is playing Kansas City."
Offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy: "I'm not thinking about that. I've got too many other things to worry about."
Safety Rod Woodson: "If he comes great. We know he's got the hands. It's just a matter of knocking off the rust. As for chemistry, the only people that talk about it are you guys. It's only an issue when you guys bring it up."
Quarterback Rich Gannon: "I'm in pretty much the same boat as (head coach) Bill (Callahan). How ever it works out, I'm not the one making personnel decisions."
Wide receiver Tim Brown: "It's not going to be a distraction. It's all speculation and until it happens we're too focused to let it distract us."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com