Barry Sanders never sought out the spotlight, but thanks to his dazzling career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Detroit Lions, that’s just what he managed to get.
Monday night, during the Clemson vs. LSU game, Sanders was officially named one of the top college football players of all time. Sanders occupied the No. 9 spot on the list, compiled by ESPN in honor of the 150th anniversary of college football in the 2019 season.
At halftime during the game, Sanders got honored for being named to the list, and in the aftermath, managed to continue to be his classy self in his awesome reaction.
Safe to say there is no debating Sanders on this list. The Heisman Trophy winner was one of the most exciting players in college with the Cowboys, racking up 3,556 yards and 48 touchdowns. Sanders would go on to have a stellar career with the Lion en-route to being one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
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.
It’s always nice to see a classy man like Sanders get every honor and reap the rewards of his long and solid career in football. He’s given so much that he deserves every accolade he gets back.