The Detroit Lions will unveil a statue of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders at Ford Field prior to the 2023 season.
Sanders will become the first Lions player to be immortalized with a statue.
“It is with immense pride that we share the news that we will be honoring the greatest running back in the history of football with a statue in the city we represent,” said Sheila Ford Hamp, the team’s principal owner and chair, told the team’s website Sunday. “Generations upon generations of fans will learn about Barry and his contributions not only to the Lions, but to the game of football. He is truly in a class of his own, and while we may never see a player quite as electrifying or elusive again, Barry’s legacy will live forever and be tangible right here in Detroit.”
Sanders, now 54, played 10 seasons with the Lions, who selected him with the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. He racked up numerous awards, including NFL MVP (1997), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1989) and first-team All-Pro (1989-1991, 1994, 1995, 1997).
A 10-time Pro Bowl selection, Sanders led the NFL in rushing yards four times (1990, 1994, 1996, 1997) and was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team as well as the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
“Detroit has been my home ever since I was drafted by the Lions in 1989,” Sanders said. “This statue means the city will be my home forever, it’s surreal. There is no way that I can express my gratitude to the entire Ford family, my teammates, my coaches, the Lions front office, the media, and most of all to the fans. As I soak it all in and reflect on my career, I recognize what a tremendous honor this is.”
Sanders ran for 15,269 yards — good for fourth all-time on the NFL rushing list — and 99 touchdowns. He caught 352 passes for 2,921 yards and another 10 touchdowns.
–Field Level Media