Robert Ford's story and what Deion Sanders says in the attached video are a little different, but both are pretty remarkable versions of why Sanders ended up going to Florida State instead of signing with the Kansas City Royals out of high school. It's possible some version of both are true, but I'd imagine they're both equally painful to Royals fans.
It's hard for me to imagine Sanders not playing football, but it sure sounds like he was pretty close to dedicating himself solely to baseball before he spoke with Royals manager Dick Howser — and a scout possibly missed his opportunity to sign him by a few hours.
Obviously everybody knows about the Hall of Fame-caliber football player Sanders was, but his baseball career is criminally neglected when Prime Time is discussed. He hit .304 — with an .841 OPS — in 325 plate appearances for a Braves team which won the National League in 1992. And for good measure, Sanders racked up eight hits in 15 at-bats in the 1992 World Series, slashing .533/.588/.667.
Those numbers in a vacuum don't wow any baseball fanatics, but Sanders did all that while also playing in the National Football League. And if you look at Sanders's baseball numbers compared to those of Bo Jackson, many are quite comparable — Sanders actually has a higher career batting average and on-base percentage.
I absolutely believe that if whatever version of why Sanders did not sign with the Royals hadn't happened, he could have been a Hall of Fame baseball player if he chose to dedicate his career to that. He was simply one of the best athletes to ever live.