Sanders move a slap in the face to Polian, Colts

March 4, 2011
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I know, it’s not the American way. You’re supposed to take all you can get. And as a sports business journalist, I understand well that the National Football League is a business.

But it feels like Bob Sanders owes the Indianapolis Colts—and the team’s fans—more than what they got.

For the last three years, the Colts and Colts fans waited for the return of the great Bob Sanders. And the Colts paid handsomely while everyone waited. The Colts paid Sanders many millions of dollars to essentially sit on the sidelines. Worse yet, the Colts paid Sanders to rehab his injuries.

And now, Sanders will take the fruits of those Colts-paid labors (if there are any fruits to be had) to San Diego. It was announced that Sanders signed a one-year deal with the Chargers on Thursday.

Maybe the Colts know something we don’t. Maybe Sanders really is permanently damaged goods. But that certainly is a 180-degree change from the tune team president Bill Polian was singing a year ago.

It may not seem like a huge deal now, given Sanders oft-injured past, but if Polian has miscalculated this situation—again—and Sanders returns anywhere near to his healthy self, Colts fans will feel more than just a little betrayed. And they should.

After all, couldn’t Sanders, who is still only 30, have taken the stance that since the Colts, and Polian in particular, showed extra patience and faith in him, that he might want to return that favor?

It might seem a bit fairer had Sanders agreed to play for a league minimum salary for the Colts as long as the team agreed to incentive clauses that would pay Sanders more if he returned to the all-pro form that helped the Colts win the 2007 Super Bowl. It's difficult to believe the Colts wouldn't have taken a bite at that apple had it been offered.

Instead, Sanders shopped himself shamelessly. Not only that, he seemed to shop himself to just about every AFC rival the Colts have.

It’s true, Colts officials cut Sanders after last season. But who can blame them? He would have been owed $5.5 million plus a $500,000 roster bonus.

Who’s going to pay that? Not the Colts.

And not San Diego either. That’s what should sting the Colts and Colts fans so much.

  • Sanders
    True colors are now showing. He's a self absorbed, greedy flash in the pan and not worth the respect he's been given.
    • Grow Up
      Its a bussiness and don't you think the highest sutiors for him would be the rivals given his knowledge of the team ..He is just trying to start fresh. But yet you seem bitter because you know hurt or not no one can replace his playmaking ability. He owes nothing to the colts it is a business that he put him self on the line every game...when do players owe fans or billionaire owners and managers. What is this high school or college.Its a job fool
      • Grow up
        The Colt's could have cut him years ago. No one was holding a gun to their heads to keep paying him. Works both ways.
      • Give Me A Break
        Tony, Bob Sanders played as hard as his body would allow for the Colts and was a huge part in bringing Indy a championship and for this he has to be forever deferential to the Colts? The Colts acted in the their best interest in cutting Bob so it should not be any surprise that he did the same. Grow up Tony and quit trying to score cheap points with your readers.
      • Laughable
        Maybe the writer should have sent Bob an approved list of teams that he could sign with. Bob laid it on the line for the team and was CUT BY THE COLTS. I wish him and the
        Colts all the best.
        • Really?
          How can he be greedy and self absorbed when the Colts cut him? He didn't demand a trade or asked to be released. He was injury prone not a bad person. There is a huge difference.
        • pure dung

          In September you wrote the following:

          "If youâ??re crying for Bob Sanders this morning, feel free to wipe your tears. It is a crying shame for the Colts and Colts fans that they wonâ??t have The Eraser to count on and cheer forâ??again this year.

          Maybe the Horseshoe is better with him, though with the emergence of Melvin Bullitt and the teamâ??s run last year, thatâ??s increasingly difficult to argue."

          So why are you now so offended that he is leaving? Your continued hack job articles are irritating. As the other commentators have correctly pointed out this is a business. Your article makes you sound like a 12 year old sitting at home in your 21 jersey with tears in your eyes.

          Good Luck Bob.
        • Greedy?
          The Colts cut him.
          What if the IBJ cut you and one of their competitors offered you a nice big fat check, instead of "a league minimum salary"?
          Good for Bob.
        • Good Logic
          Shame on you, Bob Sanders, for slapping the Colts in the face by getting cut by the team. Shame on you for getting injured by playing 110% every game, getting released, and then when another team is interested, signing with them instead of staying jobless. Oh wait...
        • commentors off base
          Here's how this works. The Colts went to Sanders, and due to his injury-riddled past, asked him to re-work the contract. They do this, yes because he's unreliable due to his injuries, but also so they can re-sign the likes of Peyton Manning and select others to fattened contract. Sanders, who like most pro athletes, who has an inflated image of himself, say no way!!!" He is not only not operating in reality, he is ungrateful to boot. D--- straight, Sanders owes the Colts and its fans something more!
        • Thank You Bob
          First of all I wish Bob well. He was an important piece of the Colt's Super Bowl Championship team. And to respond to Matt...Bob is operating in reality in that he was signed by another team. He had a lot of legitimate interest and signed with the best suitor. Bob owes the Colts and fans absolutely nothing. Also Matt you are assuming that the Colts were interested in him. You have no way of knowing if this actually true. Your comments are pure speculation.
        • Wow...
          Sanders wins us a Super Bowl (we don't win it without him), has his body torn to shreds PLAYING FOR US, gets CUT by the Colts, and now he owes US something?? That's beyond idiotic. Looking for a job is NOT 'shopping yourself shamelessly', it's looking for a freakin job. At least he didn't sign with the Patriots! (lol) But then again everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how dumb/non reality based it is.
        • Bob Sanders
          Glad he's gone. The Chargers will be paying him to sit out hurt now.
        • Bob
          I agree that Bob needed to be cut but this article really has no merit. Bob destroyed his body with steriods and the Colts let him go. His agent was smart in shopping him to teams where he could give knowledge of the Colts offensive playbook. He owed the Colts another season but let AJ and captain Prick have him. bye-bye headaches.
        • Every once in a while...
          ...I think that Anthony doesn't understand pro sports.

          Then I read one of his columns and am convinced.
        • He was Cut
          I don't understand where the article is coming from - Sanders was cut. Why wouldn't he look for a team that wanted him. Yeah, the Colts got burned a bit by paying him that much for injury-ridden seasons, but that happens sometimes in football. I don't blame the Colts for cutting him (surprised they didn't it a year or two ago) and wish Sanders the best of luck.
        • It's Fair
          The COlts cut Sanders (justifiably I think) and Bob has the right to go to any team that wanted him. Notice three other times worked him out but did not take him. I hope for Bob's sake it works out. As for the Colts, hope he is injured when it is time for the Chargers to play us!
        • Absurd argument
          This is one of the most absurd things I have read in a long, long time. The Colts had the right to cut him and they did. He has an equal right to earn a living and get a job with whoever is willing to pay him. I didn't realize that the current CBA in the NFL requires a player to retire from football after he is cut by his current team. Who knew?
        • Over/under 3.5 games
          Wonder if the Las Vegas oddsmakers will post an over/under on # of games it takes for Bob to once again render his body useless for the rest of the NFL season? I'd bet the under.
        • Stupid Sour Grapes
          Are you in a contest w/ Kravitz?! What a dumb no nothing jerk you are! I just can't believe this article! The Colts owe a good chunk of that banner that's hanging from the top of Lucas to Bob. They got a Defensive Player of the Year out of him the next season. His run of injury bad luck since was most unfortunate, but you act like he tried to get hurt. I wish Bob all the success in the world in San Diego. He owes the Colts nothting (& his relationship w/them & Polian is still much better than you allude). I hope he makes it all the way back. It could be worse. He's out of the Division at least.
        • Onion Sports
          This can not be a real article. The Colts cut Sanders. How did an editor let this article get published?
        • Madoff?
          You'd have the Colts throwing more money at him? Wouldn't that be like 'investing' more money w/ Bernie Madoff?
        • The Colts Blinked First
          It's a business - the Colts cut him, he has to feed his family. Sanders could have been cut years ago. I place that decision or indecision squarely in the laps of Colts management. However, on the plus side - next time we face the Chargers, it should be fairly easy to take Sanders out - WE KNOW ALL OF HIS WEAKNESSES.
        • The Genius
          You cant fault Bob for continuing with his trade. I do fault the so-called genius Bill Polian for keeping him at least 1 year maybe 2 years too long. We may have been able to trade him and actually make use of what he has shown the league. The only people that we Colts fans should be upset with is Polian and the Colts organization for keeping him too long.
        • Bill Polian cannot continue to gamble on Sanders
          Vincent Jackson has been francshised again despite his Carson Palmer attitude, Norv Turner is on the hot seat, LT is looking great with the Jets, no replacement has been found for Shawn Merriman and last year the Chargers failed to make the playoffs in a very weak division. This is also the same team that used their #1 overall pick on a QB even though they had Drew Brees. This team is on the decline and they have a proven history of making poor trades and acquisitions. However, good for Bob for taking advantage and maximizing his incomne. We never would have won the Super Bowl without Bob and I know that I am sad to see him leave.
          • AGREE!!
            Str8up says it all. Totally agree. He owes us nothing more. I would rather see him in San Diego than with the Jets or the Jags....and heaven forbid the Patriots!
          • SANders as in SAN Diego
            At some point in time---you just have to move on. But if anyone knows Bob Sanders, I'll bet on Bill Polian. Even the league minimum doesn't say you'll get full value out of a guy that was both fearsome yet foolish. Bob could play hard---just not smart. It's too bad because he was a force. And that's my point: was!
          • It should sting a little
            Maybe everyone should read the last two paragraphs...
            • Class isn't universal.
              Yes, if I had been receiving millions of dollars worth of charity from an organization in return for absolutely nothing on my part, then when I was well enough to begin contributing I would consider it my duty as a man to prove myself to that organization and thank them for their generosity by resigning with them. But not everyone feels that way. Oh well. C'est la vie!
            • Sanders
              What did he owe the Colts? How about enough thank you to renegotiate his contract to thank the team for two years of full pay and almost zero production. What's the thanks for two years of rehab and sitting on his butt?
            • Really?
              Really are we supposed to be shocked that anyone in the NFL would be focused on money? Take a look at the NFPLA and the league CBA negotiations. It looks like a group of very rich people fighting over $9 billion dollars. Seems to me when the rest of NFL is so focused on money, even to the point of shutting down the league, you can hardly criticize Sanders for being the same way. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
            • Slap in the Face
              Somebody needs to slap this author in the face to wake him up!!! How does this guy have a job? Tony - you are a total joke.
            • --
            • Thumper Clause
              C'mon posters, if you can't say something quasi interesting, don't take up space with your cheap shots at the author. Don't like this blog, don't read it. You won't be missed.
            • No one even knows ho much he's getting
              No one knows ho much Bob Sanders is getting in SD. Apparently it isn't anywhere near league minimum considering the fact that Jacksonville who is more desperate for a safety then any team in the NFL passed on him.
              But either way he is likely getting more in SD then he would in Indianapolis. And rather or not Polian knows something about Sanders health blows my mind considering the fact that he passed his physical in Jax. How he did it I have no idea.
            • Wow really??
              I am lost on how Sanders is the greedy one. If the colts had that much faith in him and really wanted to keep they could have just honored the contract they agreed to in the first place. Im a Bills fan, and I dont blame the colts for cutting him for the same reason I didnt want the bills to sign him when I heard he went to buffalo for a FA visit, the chances that he will play at the level he did in the past is highly unlikely. But I would never fault any man for gettin paid especially when the owners are tryin to take every penny possible from the players.
            • Chargers Suck?
              VJ is a stud. Norv isnt really on hot seat. LT is about to get cut. Merriman was damaged worse than Sanders. & Rivers is every bit as good as Brees and 4 years younger. AFC west is definitely improving. So pretty much all your points about Chargers are incorrect. Chargers are paying Sanders an incentive laden deal. If he stays healthy it will be a major coup. If not no biggie.
            • You are inverting reality
              The Colts told Sanders to get he did.

              And for this you blame him?
            • Get Real
              Schoettle, what world are you living in? Sanders didn't do anything that any other player in the league wouldn't have done. Polian has screwed more than his share of players and teams and I never see anyone calling him on the carpet, so get real, it's a dog eat dog league.
            • Sh It Happens
              After being a superman for the colts secondary for a few years his body took the toll. Perhaps the colts should've looked into getting another pro-bowl caliber defender back there so he didnt have to hold the whole of the defensive backfield under his wing. Look at Polamalu... he's starting to get to the same point of wear and tear... because he feels like its his duty to make those plays... because if he doesnt then the rest of the defense suffers...
              Please no arguments on how both D's played just as well without their star safeties... because they didnt...
            • Terrible
              Local meatball fan/blogger writes a horrible story while emotional about one of his team's former players landing with a conference rival. Do you need any tissues, dude?
            • WAHHHH
              Que the crying baby, pay the man if you wanted him to stay, but don't cry because he went to a team on the upswing in the afc, instead of taking a home town discount to stay with a team with that has two years tops with 18 which is your only chance? Please, save it.
            • dumb
              The colts cut Sanders you pin head. Why is it up to Sanders all of a sudden to offer a contract re-negotiation? Shouldn't that be something the front office should attempt before simply cutting him? You act as if Sanders got hurt on purpose so he could collect his money doing nothing then go to another team, you know that is rediculous. Grow up Schoettle.
            • ?
              maybe you can explain how the colts paying him for those years instead of cutting him sooner is Sanders Fault? Not saying it shouldn't sting, but don't point the finger at Sanders. He didn't tear his Bicep on purpose you know.
            • LAUGHABLE
              this is a ridiculous article

              If my company fires me, I am not waiting for an apology. I am moving on. So did Indy, so did Bob and so should this so called writer
            • All's fair...
              How many years did Bob Sanders play for the Colts for pennies on the dollar before getting his big pay day? Did management say, "Hey, Bob, here's some backpay for all you do." Sanders is a Bolt, and yes he might get injured while playing for us, but he will bring his leadership to a team defense that desperately needs it since Merriman got hurt. The Colts had their chance and came up short. All's fair in love and war...and football. Now let's pray there is a season to play.
            • It's just capitalism
              It's just capitalism. You'll get over it.
            • You're Kidding Right?
              The guy was cut. Every team in the league had a chance to sign Sanders, including (drumroll please)... the Colts. To whoever wrote this idiotic article: if you get fired tomorrow, will you seek other employment or will you ask your current employer to take you back at minimum wage with incentive clauses to write better articles?
            • I Still Say Good Riddance
              As many of the other commenters have already shared, the Colts cut him and he has the right to go play for any team he desires. Seems the Colts didn't have any issues with picking up Adam Vinatieri when he left New England. Sanders was an amazing defensive player, but he was just too risky. He lost my appreciation at a Celebrity Softball game he participated in and did nothing to show the fans any appreciation they may have had for him. He sat in the dugout and didn't talk to anyone except maybe some of the other players in the game. I say let him go to San Diego, perhaps his salary will keep them from being able to pay for another quality player and he'll warm their bench as well as he did ours. If he does play when we play the Chargers, hopefully that will light a fire under some of our own players to take out their frustration of not having him on the field more in our own games.
            • That how the biz goes!!!
              For those who are in the mindset that Bob Sanders owes you anything. Get over yourself and your team. This is a sport. In sports people get hurt. This is also a business people get fired and find other jobs all the time. Quit with the "oh my feelings are hurt" and understand that he did what he had to do. He played his butt off while he was in Indy so be happy with that. He got a fresh start after someone discarded him thinking he won't ever get healthy. Yeah I am a Charger fan. I was not mad when LT got let go and he found a spot with the Jets. Because he is a man with a family and a Man with a family has to do what a man has to do to make his famil survive. Peace out.
            • are your feelings hurt?
              dude grow up. anyone who was the NFL defensive player of the year and had the stats he had in INDY is not a flash in the pan self absorbed anything. Quit it with the hurt feelings and realize this man has a family he has to take care of and he is doing waht he has to do after Indy let HIM go.
            • really?
              we looked real bad when we put you out of the playoffs all those times huh? i guess on the decline means beating the colts really bad...just sayin know your stuff before you go talking stuff...
            • He was unsigned
              Sanders was unsigned, that is tantamount to unemployed. Of course he went for the best deal he could. If the Colts wanted him, they would have re-signed him, the Colts are the party showing lack of loyalty (not that there is any expectation of loyalty here). Author is winy
            • Are you serious?
              So you actually get paid to write article's? Nobody made the Colts cut him. He was a free-agent & players these days dont owe anything to anyone with the nature of un-gaurenteed contrcts in the NFL.
            • Betrayed?
              Give me a break!
              He was cut. It's a business! Move along.
            • UHM
              Pretty sure you can blame the Colts organization for giving him that contract as well. Can't blame the guy if he's not healthy, I doubt that's the way he wanted it to go. Jeez and the Colts cut him, of course he has to go to a different team.
            • C'MON MAN
              The Colts cut him he owes them nothing. If an employee gets fired does he owe it to the company to reapply for minimum wage or take a job like the one he just had for a better wage. Your argument is just naive.
            • ridiculous
              This is an absolutely ridiculous article. NFL teams show ZERO loyalty to players and players get cut as soon as their level of play drops even slightly, but you expect Bob Sanders to show some type of loyalty to the Colts, even after they cut him. What was he supposed to do, sit around, refuse to take any other jobs and hope the Colts offered him something? This article is clearly written from the perspective of a fan who is upset to see a former mainstay leave his team, as there is absolutely zero logic behind the argument that Bob Sanders owes the Colts. So dumb

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