Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders is the greatest player in Detroit Lions franchise history, and arguably the greatest running back in NFL history. The former Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma State enjoyed a great NFL career, but abruptly retired prior to the 1999 season. At the time of his retirement the dynamic Sanders had rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 rushing touchdowns, and was gunning to take over the league’s all-time rushing mark from former Chicago Bears and Jackson State legend Walter Payton.
To this day, Sanders an icon in and around the Detroit still ranks fourth all-time in rushing yards. To honor Sanders the Lions unveiled a statue of the legendary running back over the weekend, making him the first and likely the last player in franchise history to have a statue of themselves in the heart of downtown Detroit. Sanders, who’s always been a man of few words, was extremely grateful for the franchise immortalizing him in a way that not many athletes of any sport get recognized.
Sanders Thankful To Receive Flowers While Still Here
Many athletes don’t ever receive the recognition they deserve, and in many cases those that do, don’t get it until their no longer with us. For Sanders, that in itself means a lot to him, and he expressed his gratitude in his ceremonial speech.
“You heard the saying that you give a person their flowers while they’re around,” Sanders said during the ceremony. “I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, I’m just saying that saying … but if this statue could be used with that analogy, then I would have to say this is one heck of a bouquet for me, so thanks a lot, I appreciate it.”
Sanders, says he truly the admired the attention to detail on the statue …. from the cutback juke move that became synonymous with Sanders.
“Little things like the cut-off gloves that I wore and obviously the very alert eyes,” Sanders said. “I haven’t had a chance to really soak it in, but those were some of the things I noticed and obviously sort of the pose is like I’m in action.”
During the ceremony a video of congratulatory messages from the likes of fellow Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and Peyton Manning played. Also Mr. Detroit Piston himself “Gentleman” Joe Dumars left a message.
It was a glorious day honoring an absolute legend.
Sanders Announces Upcoming Documentary
The 1997 NFL MVP and ten-time All-Pro recently announced a documentary title “Bye Bye Barry” that’s set to be released in November. In it, Sanders will reportedly give the real reason he ultimately to hang up the cleats while still in the prime of his career.
He’s given little tidbits about it in the past, but has never really broke it down, so this should be interesting.