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SANDERS' CONTRACT IS BECOMING A PRIME-TIME TARGET
Published September 23, 1994
Two days before the Saints and 49ers meet, "guys are talking trash -- only this time it's not just the players." In one of the "more unusual pregame exchanges," Saints owner Tom Benson and 49ers President Carmen Policy "traded long-distance fire" over the signing of Deion Sanders. Benson accused the 49ers of acting improperly in signing Sanders: "This is a farce. The New Orleans Saints live by the book, and everyone else should live by the book, including the San Francisco 49ers. What kind of Mickey Mouse organization are they running out there?" Policy suggested that Benson might want to "brush up on his facts, especially since the league approved Sanders' contract this week": "Keeping in mind that we are under surveillance 24 hours a day, and the authorities in New York have us watched, are following us and probably [are] tapping our phones. If you're going to commit a crime, these are not the most ideal circumstances under which to plot." At issue was the revelation that Sanders' contract includes a $5M option that the club can exercise at its discretion. To do so, the 49ers would have to pay Sanders $3M by February 28 -- "improbable, if not impossible, under the constraints" of the salary cap (Clark Judge, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/23).