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Coach Deion Sanders Walks Out: What's Falcons Legend's Saban-Related Beef?

Deion Sanders was used to making headlines as a rookie in Atlanta. He's doing it again at SWAC Media Day where he took exception to a reporter calling him "Deion."

Former Atlanta Falcons great/now Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders made an early exit at the SWAC Media Day event in Birmingham.

Why? Sanders took offense to a reporter referring to him by 'Deion,' as the coach viewed it as a sign of disrespect. After it occurred for a second time, the second-year head coach had enough and left.

When explaining his decision to leave the event early, Sanders explained why he took offense -- explaining how the reporters would not do the same if interviewing Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

"You don't call Nick Saban, 'Nick.' Don't call me Deion," Sanders said in response to Nick Suss, who covers Ole Miss for the Clarion Ledger.

"If you call Nick (Saban), Nick, you'll get cussed out on the spot, so don't do that to me. Treat me like Nick."

Suss made it clear that he refers to everyone that he interviews by their first name, whether they are a coach or player.

"When I interview people, I call them by their first name," Suss said. "Whether it's someone I've been working with for years or someone I'm talking to for the first time. This is true of the coaches and players on the Ole Miss beat, the coaches and players at Mississippi State and Southern Miss when I help out covering their teams and, as recently as January, even Sanders, too."

Suss even referred to Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, along with Nick Saban himself, by their first names, to which no issue was raised as Sanders had claimed would occur. Indeed, we're a bit mystified by the controversy when we think back on our coverage of legendary coaches like Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells, who certainly earned the title "coach'' but were commonly addressed by their first names.

Sanders was taken by the Falcons fifth overall in a star studded 1989 draft class that included Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, and the late Derrick Thomas.

READ MORE: The Falcons Schedule has many Winnable Games 

Sanders nickname coming out of Florida State was "Prime Time," and the on-field persona helped make him one of the most popular players in Atlanta history. 

He played five seasons with the Falcons. He was named to the Pro-Bowl his last three and first team All-Pro his final two years in Atlanta.

Sanders pulled double duty with the Falcons and Atlanta Braves in 1991, the Braves' worst to first season, and his Prime Time persona wasn't always as appreciated in the more stodgy MLB. 

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Sanders played four seasons with the Braves and nine seasons in the Majors and finished with a respectable career .263 batting average and 186 stolen bases.

Sanders was named to the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor in 2010.