Classic SI Photos of Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders was a one-of-a-kind talent, possibly the greatest cornerback in NFL history and a terrific showman. He dominated the game on defense and special teams, scoring touchdowns as a kick returner, punt returner, cornerback and even as a wide receiver. You could make the argument that Sanders was the greatest pure athlete ever to play pro football — he is the only player to ever score an NFL touchdown and hit a home run in a Major League Baseball game in the same week, a feat he accomplished in 1989. Not that it impacts his football accolades at all, but Sanders' baseball career spanned 1989-97, with a brief return in 2001. In celebration of his 49th birthday on Aug. 9, 2016, we present 21 classic SI photos of No. 21 — nicknamed "Prime Time" and "Neon Deion​" — through the years.

Florida State's Deion Sanders deflects a pass intended for Michigan's Greg McMurtry on Sept. 27, 1986 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. - John D. Hanlon
1 of 31 John D. Hanlon
Deion Sanders poses in the locker room of the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, on June 22, 1989 in Columbus, Ohio. - Heinz Kluetmeier
2 of 31 Heinz Kluetmeier
Deion Sanders holds a football and baseball bat during a photo shoot on June 23, 1989 in Columbus, Ohio. - Heinz Kluetmeier
4 of 31 Heinz Kluetmeier
Deion Sanders poses during a photo shoot on June 23, 1989 in Columbus, Ohio. - Heinz Kluetmeier
5 of 31 Heinz Kluetmeier
Deion Sanders poses during a photo shoot on June 23, 1989 in Columbus, Ohio. - Heinz Kluetmeier
7 of 31 Heinz Kluetmeier
Deion Sanders returns an interception during the Atlanta Falcons game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 1, 1989 at County Stadium in Milwaukee, Wisc. - Damian Strohmeyer
8 of 31 Damian Strohmeyer
Deion Sanders appears on the Nov. 13, 1989 cover of Sports Illustrated. - Lee Crum
10 of 31 Lee Crum
Deion Sanders appears on the Aug. 24, 1992 cover of Sports Illustrated. - V.J. Lovero; Jim Gund
11 of 31 V.J. Lovero; Jim Gund
Deion Sanders gets caught in a rundown between Kelly Gruber and Manny Lee during Game 3 of the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays on Oct. 20, 1992 at the SkyDome in Toronto. - V.J. Lovero
13 of 31 V.J. Lovero
Deion Sanders intercepts a pass during Super Bowl XXIX between the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers on Jan. 29, 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. - Richard Mackson
14 of 31 Richard Mackson
Deion Sanders sits alongside his then-wife Carolyn Chambers and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during a press conference announcing his signing with the team on Sept. 12, 1995 in Dallas. - Bill Frakes
16 of 31 Bill Frakes
Deion Sanders appears on the Oct. 9, 1995 cover of Sports Illustrated. - George Lange
17 of 31 George Lange
Deion Sanders intercepts a pass intended for Raghib Ismail during the Dallas Cowboys game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 19, 1995 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. - Peter Read Miller
19 of 31 Peter Read Miller
Deion Sanders walks off the field without his helmet during Super Bowl XXX between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 28, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. - Robert Beck
20 of 31 Robert Beck
Deion Sanders and Larry Brown celebrate as they are surrounded by media following Super Bowl XXX between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 28, 1996 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. - John Biever
22 of 31 John Biever
Deion Sanders slides into third base during the Cincinnati Reds game against the New York Mets on April 23, 1997 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, N.Y. - Chuck Solomon
23 of 31 Chuck Solomon
Deion Sanders appears on the May 26, 1997 cover of Sports Illustrated. - Al Tielemans
25 of 31 Al Tielemans
Deion Sanders runs with the ball as Je'Rod Cherry grabs his uniform during the Washington Redskins game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 8, 2000 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. - Al Tielemans
26 of 31 Al Tielemans
Deion Sanders looks on during the Baltimore Ravens game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 11, 2005 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. - Bob Rosato
28 of 31 Bob Rosato
Deion Sanders points alongside Lawrence Taylor during the NFL Draft on April 22, 2010 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. - David Bergman
29 of 31 David Bergman
Deion Sanders interviews Dallas Cowboys OT and No. 9 overall pick Tyron Smith during the NFL Draft on April 28, 2011 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. - David Bergman
31 of 31 David Bergman
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