Deion Sanders Responds to Critics of Colorado Move: 'I Understand Because It's Love'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2022

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 17:  Head coach Deion Sanders of the Jackson State Tigers looks on against the North Carolina Central Eagles during the first half of the Cricket Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Deion Sanders has faced some backlash after leaving Jackson State this winter to take on the job as the Colorado head football coach.

On Tuesday, Sanders said he understood the criticism and where it was coming from.

"I understand because it's love," Sanders told Shannon Sharpe of the Club Shay Shay podcast (3:40 mark). "You fell in love, and I fell in love too. And I felt like we did more than we were expected to do. We just did it so expeditiously that it overwhelmed you and you thought it was easy. Because what would normally take someone several years, we did it in two-and-a-half. That's what was staggering."

Sanders said that when he was hired in Sept. 2020, vice president and director of athletics Ashley Robinson asked Sanders to give him two years. Sanders ultimately spent three seasons at the school, going 27–6 at the school and leading them to back-to-back bowl games.

One of the criticisms Sanders addressed in the interview was why he felt as though he couldn't build up Jackson State into a national powerhouse on par with the Power Five schools.

"Tell me how you build that into a Power Five," Sanders said (10:58 mark). "Because if you go into the Power Five conference, just say the SEC, you know all the other sports have to go too. ... And also, it's criteria that the school has to pass to be in those conferences. And I don't know if that was going to be applicable to what we're trying to accomplish."

At Colorado, he'll be looking to rebuild a program that has had just six winning seasons since the turn of the century. And Sanders said he understood why some of the parting shots from some Jackson State fans weren't kind.

"People are hurt, and when people are hurt, often times their first response isn't the response that should be given," Sanders said. "They say things out of emotion and anger, but I listen. Because when a person says stuff out of emotions and anger, that's how they really feel."