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Deion returns to Ravens backfield in expanded role


LANDOVER, Md. -- Deion Sanders returned to the Baltimore Ravens' defensive backfield last night after missing two games because of a strained left hamstring.

Playing at FedEx Field was nothing new for Sanders, who was a member of the Washington Redskins before announcing his retirement before training camp in 2001. In the days leading up to yesterday's game against Washington, Sanders spoke enthusiastically about Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and said he enjoyed his time with the franchise.

Sanders, who returned a third-quarter interception 23 yards, quit the Redskins because he didn't think they had a chance to win the Super Bowl in 2001. But he believes the Ravens can, so he ended his retirement and signed as a free agent this summer.

He was not tested by Cleveland in the opener, then hurt his hamstring in the first half of the Ravens' next game against Pittsburgh.

Sanders returned last night to an expanded role. He had been used previously on third downs and obvious passing situations, but because the Redskins often used three wide receivers he frequently saw action on first and second downs.

Sanders made his presence felt early, batting away a sideline pass to Taylor Jacobs in the first quarter while in one-on-one coverage. He also tackled running back Ladell Betts on a third-down play to force a second-quarter punt. Then in the third quarter, he added his first interception of the season.


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