Deion Sanders won't let Travis Hunter back before he's ready

Deion Sanders speaking to Oregon's Dan Lanning after Saturday's game
Deion Sanders speaking to Oregon's Dan Lanning after Saturday's game

Deion Sanders' Colorado Buffaloes just suffered their first loss of the season, a brutal 42-6 beatdown at the hands of No. 9 Oregon. The early season darlings of the college football world, this loss has dropped Colorado from No. 19 to off the Coaches Poll entirely. The team's schedule doesn't get much easier either.

This upcoming Saturday, Colorado faces an arguably tougher opponent in No. 8 USC, though Colorado will at least be at home for that game.

With Sanders and company in dire need to prove themselves after the loss, you'd expect Coach Prime to pull out all the stops in order to give his squad their best shot at winning. This afternoon though, Sanders offered a different approach, opting to take care of his athletes before worrying about their next game.

Deion Sanders shares Travis Hunter moment:

During a team meeting, Sanders pulled out his phone and read text messages from star two-way player Travis Hunter. The texts read, "I need to play this week. We need to get everything we can so I can get back on the field. I'm not taking 'no' for an answer."

Sanders had a beautiful reply. "I care about you more than I care about this game," Sanders read to the team. "You're going to change the game of football when you're healthy and ready. Your future is brighter than mine ever will be and ever was. Relax and get healthy. I love you, son."

Sanders concluded that part of the meeting telling his athletes that he cares for each and every one of them more than he cares about winning, and that he hopes each of his players can learn more about themselves through difficult times like they endured on Saturday. Those tough times could drudge through next week though depending on how this Colorado team responds in their game against USC.

When will Travis Hunter play?

Hunter is, of course, still nursing an injury he sustained in Colorado's game against in-state rival Colorado State on September 16. Hunter suffered a late hit in that game, and although he returned for a brief stint after the hit, he was later hospitalized for evaluation. Coach Sanders told reporters that Hunter would likely be out "multiple weeks."

Other reports signaled that the timeline could be three to four weeks, which would put a possible return for Stanford on Oct. 13 or the UCLA game on Oct. 28.

After the loss to Oregon though, Hunter had seen enough and believed he needed to get back to help Colorado back on their feet. Sanders refused Hunter's demands though.

Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on Saturday. The game will air nationally on FOX.

USC-Colorado: Storylines to follow for Saturday's USC-Colorado matchup

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coach Prime informs team why he isn't letting Travis Hunter back early