Bob Sanders, 5-8, 206 lbs, was nicknamed "The Eraser" by former Colts coach Tony Dungy for his ability to erase his teammates' mistakes but despite his talent he’s often injured and has missed games during every year of his career.
His 2004 rookie year with the Colts, the second round pick out of Iowa year was cut short due to foot and knee injuries and he missed all but four regular season games.
Sanders was able to stay healthy for most of the 2005 season and started in fourteen games. He hurt his knee while playing against San Diego and missed the last two games of the season but was able to start in the post season against the Steelers.
Early on in the 2006 season the injury bug struck once again when Sanders injured a knee that cost him twelve regular season games. Despite that injury Sanders played in the post season and started four games at free safety helping his team to a Super Bowl victory over the Bears.
Sander’s 2007 season was arguably his best year as a pro. He managed to dodge another major injury and started in 15 games. His play earned him NFL defensive player of the year honors and his second Pro Bowl selection. The team made their way to AFC championship game but lost to the Chargers 28-24.
The football gods were not smiling on Sanders the following year. Six games into the season Sanders suffered a high ankle sprain and missed five games. A knee injury later that year cost him more time. He was able to play in the Colt’s lone post season game, a wild card loss in San Diego.
The 2009 season closed with another Super Bowl trip for the Indianapolis Colts but not for Bob. After missing the first five games while rehabbing from a knee injury, Sanders was finally able to return. But after playing in just six games he hurt his left elbow and landed on injured reserve and missed out on his team’s January run to the Super Bowl.
Last year the former defensive player of the year played in only one game, a season opening loss to the Houston Texans. The Colts were playing away from home in Reliant Stadium when Sanders tore his biceps tendon and was once again placed on injured reserve. That was likely the proverbial straw that broke the camels back culminating with his recent release from the club.
Taking an objective view of his playing career there are several factors that stand out. He stands 5’8’’ and weighs 206lbs, and is considered to be small by NFL standards. That coupled with his reckless abandon style of play is likely the reason for his many injuries.
The Colt’s organization has also been very cautious with Sanders. During that teams seven consecutive trips to the playoffs they often could afford to sit players at the end of the season and that accounts for some of his missed games. But never-the-less, during his seven years in the NFL Sanders has missed sixty-four of a possible 112 regular season contests.
Is "The Eraser" worth signing? Probably, but his history shows that he’s gonna get hurt.