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Deion defends decision

Boredom, not ego, motivated Deion Sanders' two-sport day.

"I'm a pinch-runner and a pinch-hitter, I'm not an everyday player," Sanders said. "If I was an everyday player, I don't think I would have chosen to do that."

Sanders, who played for the Atlanta Falcons in Miami on Sunday before returning to Pittsburgh, was not used by Braves manager Bobby Cox in Atlanta's 7-1 loss to the Pirates in Game 5.

Braves officials were angry Sanders violated their version of a mutual understanding, which general manager John Schuerholz said called for Sanders to be with the Braves "every minute, every day."

Under Major League Rule 40, teams may ask the executive council to make roster switches between the playoffs and World Series.

There has been speculation the Braves will replace Sanders on the World Series roster, but Schuerholz wouldn't talk about the situation before Tuesday night's sixth game.

"I'm not concerned about that," he said. "It's a non-story."

Sanders has refused to talk with print reporters but did speak Monday night during a live television interview at halftime of the NFL game between Washington and Denver.

"You're sitting on the bench all game long until the eighth or ninth inning," Sanders said. "You don't really have any bearing on the game until late in the game."

Originally, Game 5 was scheduled for late Sunday afternoon. But two weeks ago, it was switched to night because CBS officials prefer not to have Toronto play in prime time, since its home market doesn't count in the ratings.

"The time change from 4:30 to 8:30 made everything possible, so that's when the decision was made," Sanders said.

Sanders played a full game at right quarterback, returned kicks and even caught a 9-yard pass in the Falcons' 21-17 loss.

"I feel like I owe them the right to be out there," Sanders said. "I don't see how I can let 40-something other guys down, the football players, while I'm sitting on the bench for eight or nine innings."

Sanders said he believed his football and baseball teammates supported his odyssey.

"Before I signed with the Atlanta Falcons, I made my Braves teammates aware of the situation at hand," Sanders said. "Before I decided to play both sports on the same day, I let both of my teammates know the situation and got their feedback. One hundred percent, not one disagreed. You can help two teams win on one day, and to top it off, it's never been done before."

Sanders was criticized by CBS broadcaster Tim McCarver. A friend of Sanders is said to have called CBS to complain.

"I'm getting criticized for not being a team person, and that hurts," Sanders said.

Sanders said commercial endorsement contracts didn't play a part in his decision.

"I'm 25 years old, and it definitely isn't the money because I'm comfortable," he said. "The Nike deal is already inked, that's in black and white whether I play football or baseball or one or the other."

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