Deion Sanders played 14 seasons in the NFL and was recently selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His career began with the Atlanta Falcons. He had a flamboyant style of play that came off arrogant and cocky to most.
He burst onto the scene after a career at Florida State and made an immediate impact in Atlanta as both a cornerback and a returner. As a Falcon, he score eight touchdowns and made 24 interceptions in five years.
Deion was aptly named "Primetime" and made the biggest name for himself as a member of the talented teams of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s - though his only Super Bowl team with Dallas was 1995.
He retired following the 2005 season with 53 career interceptions and 22 career touchdowns which came a variety of ways - interceptions, fumbles, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns. The best shutdown cornerback of his era, Deion is unquestionably a Hall of Famer.
But Deion wasn't well liked. Many sports fans didn't appreicate his flash, which seemed to lack respect for the game and his opponent. When he made a play, he would typically high step in Deion fashion, almost taunting the other team. By his actions, it didn't seem humility was in his vocabulary.
But in an interview after recieving word that he had been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Deion Sanders said something that resonates with me, a lesson that we can all learn. Deion Sanders, amongst all the criticism, said he didn't care what anyone else thought of him.
Too many times, whether in athletics, academia or life, we get caught up in what people will think of us. What will they think of me if I make an out or miss a tackle or lose? What will be said if I don't pass this test or get into a certain school? What will they think if I don't stay out late because I want to go to church in the morning?
It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. You have to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own decisions. What you think is the only thing that truly matters. Focus on what you can control - how hard you work, how long you study or how much you read. You can't worry about what the cute girl or your best friend or the stranger will think.
I know it is easier to say than do. But you have to start eventually.
Only you can control you. And only you should influence you.
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