Selected out of Fresno State in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Sanders became an immediate contributor in the New England Patriots' secondary. The 27-year-old participated in 84 games throughout seven years -- starting during the majority of New England's undefeated 16-0 regular season in 2007 -- while collecting 301 tackles, eight interceptions, and two touchdowns.
Praised by his teammates and coaches for displaying fanatic leadership in the face of a suddenly shrinking role, Sanders was caught by surprise upon hearing about his release from the franchise, as he explained to ESPN's Mike Reiss.
"It was a shock. It wasn't one of the things I was expecting to hear today. It didn't cross my mind," Sanders said Monday afternoon.
For more on the signing of James Sanders and how it impacts the Atlanta Falcons, check out The Falcoholic.