Sports fans are often times star struck by their favorite athletes, but sometimes, athletes can be just as impressed by players they compete against.
Interestingly, Barry Sanders has a story about that he revealed on Twitter. Early in his career with the Detroit Lions, Sanders played against Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants. Taylor was impressed with what Sanders had done, and credited him for being a star in the making. The running back couldn’t manage much of a response to the linebacker except to say thank you to him for the kind words.
my second game as a pro, we played the @Giants and @LawrenceTaylor came up to me after the game and told me if the team got me a FB I would be tough to stop. I was so star struck I just said thanks. https://t.co/7OLbIZ1dXB
— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) July 8, 2020
The Lions, of course, eventually got Sanders that fullback in Cory Schlesinger and the rest was history. Sanders became very tough to stop, and while the Lions would lose games in his tenure, it was rarely due to a lack of effort or execution on Sanders’ part.
Safe to say that Taylor, one of the meanest hitters in football, was right on the money regarding Sanders. It is certainly neat to hear stories about Taylor not just as a fierce competitor but a fan of the game as well.
Barry Sanders Thanks Martha Ford
Recently, Sanders revealed a thank you to his long time friend Martha Ford. Following the announcement that Ford was stepping down and her daughter Sheila Ford Hamp was taking over as owner of the team, Sanders put out a statement in which he thanked the elder Ford for her contributions and said he was looking forward to working with Ford Hamp, whom he says the transition will be seamless to the owner’s chair.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) June 29, 2020
Sanders is the most decorated former member of the Lions, and him speaking to the Fords in this statement is notable. Once upon a time, he didn’t leave on the best terms with the owners and that caused tension for a while. Now, it’s been smoothed over and it’s clear he wishes not only Mrs. Ford the best, but the next generation of ownership that will take over the team moving forward.
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.
Before Sanders got his career going in a big way, Taylor saw the talent that was to be. Credit to his eye for that.