By Paul Vigna
Philadelphia Daily News, September 15, 2008
Eagles career: Some names on those early Dick Vermeil defenses come to mind faster than others. You know, Bergey and Bunting and LeMaster and Edwards to name a few. Watching that group operate for three seasons from his free safety spot was John Sanders, who tied for the team lead with six interceptions in 1977 and then picked off five more a year later. By 1979, however, two bad knees reduced his season to a couple of cameo appearances. "Matter of fact, I later found out I had a posterior cruciate ligament tear that I had been playing on." Surgeries in 1996 brought stability back to both joints. "I enjoyed the years that I played, even though I got banged up. But with the surgeries I'm far ahead of most people in terms of being active. I'm pleased with that."
Where he is now: A schoolteacher by trade, he preferred the chance to start a business and, as he said, maintain the freedom. So in 1980, through Primerica, he opened a financial services marketing business that he's still running today in Jackson, Miss. Three of his sons are part of his team: They live in Atlanta, Houston and Memphis. The fourth, Justin, played for Illinois in the Rose Bowl last year. A recent graduate, Justin's poked his nose into a couple of NFL camps. "If nothing materializes, he'll either get into the grad program at Illinois or come back to Jackson and maybe get into coaching and sports management. That's what he really wants to do."
Eagles memory: Sanders remembers the years with that bunch that carried the banner for Vermeil ("I was kind of privileged to be a part of the teams that basically turned the franchise around.") A highlight? How about accompanying Herm Edwards to the end zone with the winning score in the Miracle of the Meadowlands? "Every time they play that [highlight], I get a chance to get a little film [time] there. I appreciate Herm for that."
Perspective on today's game: "The athletes are stronger and faster," he said, "but I think the self-discipline of the players is now the same as when we played."