Bob Sanders is the starting safety for the Indianapolis Colts. And while he is small is stature, he is known for being one of the hardest hitting players in the entire NFL. Standing at just 5 feet 8 inches tall, he tips the scales around 200+ pounds, all of which is muscle. Bob Sanders was drafted by the Colts in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft with the #44 overall pick and has been one of the Indianapolis franchise’s leaders on and off the field ever since.
He was born Demond Sanders on February 24, 1981 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Sanders was given the nickname Bob from his mother in response to his birth name being pronounced incorrectly so often during his childhood. In high school Bob Sanders was the star of the football team on both sides of the ball. On offense he was the starting running back and on defense he patrolled the secondary at safety, a look the Circle City has become quite accustomed to.
Although Bob was an All-State selection, many colleges shied away from recruiting Sanders due to his size. Seeing his potential, University of Iowa gave Sanders a full scholarship and was rewarded with one of the toughest football players in their school’s history. It is said that many of his teammates at Iowa would go to the back of the line if they thought they would have to face Bob Sanders in contact drills. He was even forbidden to take part in some drills after he separated the shoulder of then running back Fred Russel. It was at Iowa that Bob received the appropriate nickname “Hitman.”
Since Sanders joined the Indianapolis sports scene in 2004, he has quickly become a favorite of Hoosiers all over Indiana with his hard-hitting, high-powered style of defense. When Sanders is on the field he seems to be involved in every play no matter where it takes place. His first coach in the NFL Tony Dungy, gave him the moniker “The Eraser” due to his uncanny ability to erase the mistakes of his teammates on the field.
Bob’s speed and total disregard for his own well being while making tackles on the field, has quickly made him an Indy legend. But it has come at a pretty steep cost. Bob Sanders’ NFL career has been plagued by injuries that have caused him to miss substantial time. The biggest example of this was the 2006 season where Sanders missed the last 12 regular season games due to a knee injury.
During his time out, the Colts took the dubious distinction as the worst run-defense team in the entire league. Thanks to Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and the rest of the Colts offense, the team still made the playoffs and gave Bob another chance to play that season. What resulted was a playoff run that saw a Bob Sanders lead defensive stifle opposing teams run and pass offensives, and ended with the Blue Horseshoes hosting the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl XLI Champions.
Other notable accomplishments for the almost pocket-sized Hercules are his two All-Pro selections (2005, 2007), his two Pro Bowl selections (2005, 2007) and being named the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year by the NFL. Bob Sanders is a fearless leader who gives everything he has on every play whether its on the practice field or Super Bowl Sunday. Displaying such power and ability on every down has mad Sanders one of the biggest sports celebrities in Indianapolis.