Barry Sanders has all the accolades an NFL running back could ever want, but the Detroit Lions runner could be set to land another one in the days ahead.
Sanders, like other elite running backs, is on the short list to be selected to the NFL’s All-Time Team at running back this week. He’ll have plenty of competition, but Sanders makes an excellent case for recognition.
Here’s a look at the explanation of the award from NFL.com:
“The NFL is revealing the 100 greatest players and 10 greatest coaches in NFL history. Every Friday night at 8 ET through Dec. 27, NFL Network will announce the latest members of the All-Time Team during a one-hour special hosted by Rich Eisen and featuring Bill Belichick and Cris Collinsworth.
Below are the 24 running back finalists for the All-Time Team. The 12 running backs on the All-Time Team will be revealed this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network:”
In terms of Sanders himself, he makes the cut and he’s got a great resume to lean on. Here’s a look at what NFL.com lists in terms of his accomplishments:
“2004 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… 1997 NFL MVP… 10-time Pro Bowler… Six-time All-Pro… Career rushing record: 15,269 yards, 99 rush TDs… First player to rush for 1,000 yards his first 10 seasons… Led NFL in rushing four times… Gained 2,053 yards, including record 14 straight 100-yard games in 1997… First or second-team All-NFL each of his 10 seasons… Selected No. 3 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1989 NFL Draft… Born July 16, 1968, in Wichita, KS.”
Obviously, there are few players who make as good of a case for an award like this than Sanders.
Barry Sanders Stats
To see Sanders run the ball for Lions fans through the years was to believe given what he was able to do with the team on the field. Sanders routinely had the quickness and deft ability to break plenty of ankles on the football field and remains one of the greatest highlights in the game fans love watching even years after his retirement. Athleticism is something that came naturally to Sanders, no matter whether he was on the grass or the hardwood, something that was revealed recently.
With the Lions, Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He was routinely thought of as the best running back in the league, and would have shattered plenty of NFL rushing records had he decided to keep playing. Sanders, however, walked away from the game in 1999 on the eve of training camp, which stunned the Lions and all of their fans. The parties then went through a frustrating split for multiple years, based mostly upon the fact that the franchise made him pay back part of his contract amid retirement. It is a situation not unlike what is happening with Calvin Johnson currently.
Barry Sanders a Lions Legend Forever
Since, time has healed all wounds and Sanders has patched things up with the Lions and has become engaged in their alumni group. He also makes several visits a year to games the team is playing in, and was recently named to Detroit’s All-Century team, which is a major feather in his cap given what he was able to do as a team leader and a dominating force in the franchise.
As a result of his early retirement, Sanders maintains his health and vitality and looks phenomenal. It’s not a stretch to say that he could possibly still grind out some tough yards in the league at this point in time.
For now, the hope for Lions fans is that Sanders gets yet another NFL honor.