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What ever happened to former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders?


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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 07 2002 - 03:46 PM

I was sure he would return to the NFL soon after his departure, but I guess he really "had it" w/ football. He has to go down in NFL history as the most under utilized talent ever. Forever shame on the Detroit Lions organization! Anybody know where he is now and what he's doing?
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#2 of 38 OFFLINE   Michael*K

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Posted August 07 2002 - 03:57 PM

Don't know about what he's doing personally, but there was a story last week that the giant mural of him in downtown Detroit (they showed it briefly in the movie Out of Sight) was removed in favor of a Detroit Red Wings mural.

Having seen an awful lot of Sanders in his meetings with the Bears, I can say he was probably the most entertaining player to watch when he was in the league.

#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Robert_eb

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Posted August 07 2002 - 04:22 PM

the giant mural of him in downtown Detroit (they showed it briefly in the movie Out of Sight) was removed in favor of a Detroit Red Wings mural.


I believe they are putting a mural of Steve Yzerman who deserves it a lot more than Sanders ever did. Barry Sanders is not very well liked in this area.

#4 of 38 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted August 07 2002 - 11:04 PM

It's unbelievable that they waited this long to remove that embarassing mural.

Yzerman's played 19 years with the Wings, most of them as captain. Brought three cups to town. Always led by example. If we need a mural, it should have been Yzerman up there from the get-go.

As for what Sanders is doing now, DKDC.

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#5 of 38 OFFLINE   Dennis Reno

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Posted August 08 2002 - 12:22 AM

After announcing his retirement the night before training camp started and leaving the Lion's in a very bad position, Sanders has remained as elusive off the field as he was on the field. The last I heard he still has a home in SE Michigan. He married a news reporter, Lauren Campbell, a few years ago. Other than that, not much has been reported about him.

The saddest part of the whole retirement fiasco was that it really tarnished (IMO) Barry's image for the majority of Detroit fans. Like Steve Yzerman, Barry was an idol to many in this city. He didn't trash talk, he let his game speak for him. In my lifetime, the respect Detroit fans had for Barry was matched only by Stevie Y. Where else do you get 80,000+ fans spending $$$ to go watch a terrible team? But Barry made it worth every penny, even if the rest of the team sucked! You never knew when he would break out with one of his highlight reel moves which electrified the crowd and left players shaking their heads.

The way Barry left the Lions and the fans is a real shame. To say you don't have the desire is fine, sometimes it just isn't there. But to do so in the most damaging way to the team and its fans is inexcusable.

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:27 AM

I was never a fan of Barry Sanders.

While he could be electrifying, there are two things I hated about his game. First, he had more carries for losses than anyone in history. So while his per-carry average (5.0) was excellent, it was not made up of the consistent gainers that a team needs from its running back. I think a team would rather have 4, 4, and 4, as opposed to 17, -4, and 2.

Secondly, Barry was almost always taken out of the game during goal-line situations. Now perhaps that was pure coaching idiocy, but if they didn't trust him to score, how can he be considered the best ever? Give me Walter and Emmit over Barry any day of the week. (Actually, I don't even consider Sanders the best Detroit RB-- that distinction would go to Billy Sims.)

#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Mark Paquette

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:37 AM

I think the new mural going up downtown is of the Stanley Cup. Many people wanted it to be of Steve Yzerman, but I don't think it's going to happen.
As far as Barry goes, I believe he married a local news person and still lives in the area. I used to think he was a classy player, right up there with Yzerman, until he pulled that retirement stuff a few years back.

#8 of 38 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted August 08 2002 - 05:49 AM

Quote:
Secondly, Barry was almost always taken out of the game during goal-line situations. Now perhaps that was pure coaching idiocy, but if they didn't trust him to score, how can he be considered the best ever?

This was coaching idiocy, not a reflection of Barry's talents. Wayne Fontes will never be mistaken for a coaching genius.

Dennis summed up the Barry situation very well. It is a shame the way he went out, since he was adored in this town before he walked away. Barry was the most exciting running back I ever saw (Gayle Sayers was before my time). Every time he touched the ball, every fan would be on the edge of his seat.

Personally, I think Barry left because he did not like Bobby Ross's "my way or the highway" approach. Sanders was used to being coddled by Wayne Fontes, and his personality conflicted with Ross's hard nosed approach.

Sanders never seemed driven by records. While Emmitt Smith is hanging way past his prime just to break Payton's record, Barry walked away when the record was easily within his grasp, and while he was still at the top of his game. Barry could have put the all time rushing record out of reach for a long time. I don't think anyone not close to Barry will ever know what motivated him. He certainly wasn't motivated by money or publicity, either.

#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Ross Williams

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Posted August 08 2002 - 09:59 AM

Quote:
Actually, I don't even consider Sanders the best Detroit RB-- that distinction would go to Billy Sims.


Posted Image Ok, I think you're letting your hatred for the man blind you of some simple facts. Barry is easily in the top 5 running backs of all time. Up there with Jim Brown and Walter Payton. He walked away at the peak of his game, which is a shame. He easily could have surpassed Walter's record, but now it's going to fall to the supremely lucky, marginally talented, very consistant, Emmitt Smith. Can you imagine Barry behind that Dallas line of the late 80's - early 90's? He would have broken that rushing record in 10 years, no prob.

Most carries for a loss shows me exactly what kind of running back he was. He wasn't satisfied with taking 1 yard. He'd turn back and try for more. Half the time he'd get tackled behind the line, half the time he'd break it for 20. I'll take that any day over, some Emmitt Smith type who just runs up the middle for 0-4 yards every time. The guy was amazing to watch. Imagine what he'd have done on a better team.
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#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 10:06 AM

Quote:
While Emmitt Smith is hanging way past his prime just to break Payton's record, Barry walked away when the record was easily within his grasp, and while he was still at the top of his game.
I know you're not knocking Emmitt Smith? He is a great running back that deserves everything he gets. Class, character, humility,.....Breaking sweetness' record couldn't happen to a better guy.
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#11 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 10:11 AM

Emmitt Smith = 3-time Superbowl champ in which he was instrumental to each win.

Barry Sanders = 0 Championships....but he looked good never earning them.Posted Image
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#12 of 38 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted August 08 2002 - 10:38 AM

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Barry Sanders = 0 Championships

I hope you're not serious, Kevin, about judging his ability by this statistic. With the team that surrounded Barry - and the coaching staff - it's a wonder he amassed any kind of yardage at all.

One man alone - no matter who he is - cannot win a championship.

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#13 of 38 OFFLINE   Ross Williams

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Posted August 08 2002 - 11:19 AM

Barry Sanders' 10 year career: 15,269 yds, 5 yd avg, 99 tds

Emmitt Smith's first 10 years: 13,963, 4.3 yd avg, 136 tds

Emmitt played with one of the best teams in the league for most of his career. Barry played with one of the worst.

Edit: For a comparison some of the other best running backs first 10 years.

Payton - 13309, 4.4, 79
Brown (9 years) - 12312, 5.2, 106
OJ - 10776, 4.6, 58
Dickerson - 13168, 4.4, 90
Dorsett - 11580, 4.2, 71

Now you tell me who's the best?

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#14 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
I hope you're not serious, Kevin, about judging his ability by this statistic.
Absolutely not! My comment was in reply to the assertion that Emmitt is somehow undeserving, and only "record driven" in his quest to break Peyton's record. I have the utmost respect for Sanders which is why I started this thread. As a fan of his, I wanted to know what happened to him.


Quote:
Emmitt played with one of the best teams in the league for most of his career. Barry played with one of the worst.
Emmitt Smith made his team one of the best ever. He wasn't some guy who happened to land in Dallas by luck or happenstance and ride the coat tails of NFL success known as the Dallas Cowboys. Also, Dallas sucked during the early years of Emmitt Smith w/ a record one season of 1-11...remember that?


Quote:
Barry Sanders' 10 year career: 15,269 yds, 5 yd avg, 99 tds

Emmitt Smith's first 10 years: 13,963, 4.3 yd avg, 136 tds

Emmitt played with one of the best teams in the league for most of his career. Barry played with one of the worst.

Edit: For a comparison some of the other best running backs first 10 years.

Payton - 13309, 4.4, 79
Brown (9 years) - 12312, 5.2, 106
OJ - 10776, 4.6, 58
Dickerson - 13168, 4.4, 90
Dorsett - 11580, 4.2, 71

Now you tell me who's the best?
Of all the running backs you mentioned, only Barry Sanders will NOT go to the Hall of Fame...not ever. Your statistics only show that at the 10 year mark, Barry Sanders had slightly more yards, a median yards per carry average w/ the other backs you mention, and less touchdowns than Emmitt Smith. Barry Sanders, as good as he was, will NEVER go down in history as "THE BEST". That argument might have been made had he not quit. With all that Emmitt has accomplished, admire him or not, I find it a bit appalling that anyone would question Emmitt's love for the game and his desire to eclipse Walter's record.
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#15 of 38 OFFLINE   CarlS

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Posted August 08 2002 - 12:53 PM

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Of all the running backs you mentioned, only Barry Sanders will NOT go to the Hall of Fame...not ever.


IMO, the only way Barry gets kept of the Hall is if the voters choose to hold a grudge against him for leaving early. His stats clearly show him to be amongst the best running backs ever. For me, his inconsistency keeps him from being the best, but he is top five at least.

Earl Campbell is comparable to Barry in that he never won a championship and he is in the Hall.

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#16 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:01 PM

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Earl Campbell is comparable to Barry in that he never won a championship and he is in the Hall.
Yes, but Earl Campbell finished his career. Sadly, Barry did not. And because of the way everything went down w/ the league and w/ the fans, I'd be shocked to see Sanders inducted into the HoF.
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#17 of 38 OFFLINE   Jim_F

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:05 PM

Of all the running backs you mentioned, only Barry Sanders will NOT go to the Hall of Fame...not ever.


I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts he's voted in on the first ballot.

No resentment here, he was the best player on my beloved but usually mediocre (as opposed to "one of the worst"-they were a playoff team quite a few times during his career) Lions for years. His departure was terribly ill-timed, but that's one major gaffe in an otherwise stellar, classy career. His tendency to lose yardage did tend to kill drives, turning the ball over to the other team's offense (which would then feast on the Lions' often porous defense) However, he probably was the most exciting player of his era.

Re: Goal line situations. Sanders was not a short yardage back. He didn't run for power, didn't do the goal line leap thing and lost yardage too often. I can see where a coach, right or wrong, wouldn't want to throw the franchise into the dogpile in that situation. I've seen celebrated defensive stars in the NFL commit some reprehensible fouls in the open field-who knows what went on at the bottom of the pile when they finally caught him.

All things considered, though, if I had to choose one Lions back (from the past 30-some years I've been watching) for a must-win game, I would choose Billy Sims. He was faster than Barry, ran with more power, and was unstoppable when he went airborne at the goal line.

Closing thought-neither Billy nor Barry was the greatest athlete I ever saw wearing #20 in the ol' Honolulu blue and silver. That distinction belongs to one of Marvin Gaye's backup singers.
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#18 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:08 PM

The sad thing is that no one will ever know. Maybe Sanders would've led his team to the Superbowl, or maybe he would've suffered a compound fracture in his leg and been forced to retire early....we'll never know. Voters will remember this and will likely keep him out of Canton for this....unless the O.J. Simpson jury has anything to do w/ the voting.Posted Image
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#19 of 38 OFFLINE   CarlS

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:11 PM

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Yes, but Earl Campbell finished his career. Sadly, Barry did not. And because of the way everything went down w/ the league and w/ the fans, I'd be shocked to see Sanders inducted into the HoF.


This is the grudge I was talking about. Being in the Hall should be a reward for on field accomplishments. And based on that alone, he is worthy. Keeping him out just because he didn't play as long as he may have just isn't right.

Somehow, I think that you may be right about him not making it in. Sports writers are a picky bunch.

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted August 08 2002 - 01:16 PM

From the sound of things, I don't think Sanders gives a flying hoot right now. But I think he'll regret his decision later on.
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)


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