Data Points: Making the most of their picks

A total of 31 players in the history of the NFL have intercepted at least 50 passes. But few have done more after the theft than the always-exciting Deion Sanders.

The standout corner and member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2011 amassed 53 interceptions during his 14-year career with the Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins and Ravens. He’s one of only six players in league annals to return at least nine interceptions for touchdowns (the NFL record is 12, held by fellow Hall of Famer Rod Woodson).

Deion’s 53 picks were returned for an impressive 1,331 yards, the fourth-most in NFL history behind Woodson (1,483) and current safeties Ed Reed (1,438) and Darren Sharper (1,412). However, of those aforementioned players with 50-plus interceptions, only Reed (26.6) — who owns the two longest interception returns in NFL history (107 and 106 yards) — has a higher average per return than Sanders (25.1).

Of course, none of this should be very surprising considering Sanders’ prowess as a kick returner and his penchant for the big play.

– Russell S. Baxter

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