Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders, born on July 16, 1968 in Wichita, Kanas is a former American football running back. He was the son of William, who was a Roofer and Shirley, a registered nurse. He was the one of the eleven children. He attended Wichita North High School. During his career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League, he was a ten-time pro bowl selection and four-time rushing champion.

Sanders was always athletic and had a great love for basketball. Although his father believed that it would be better for him to develop an interest in football as it would help him in winning a college scholarship. In his early years, Sanders became the starting running back in the fourth game of his senior year, where he rushed for 1417 yards which earned him all-state honors. Even though he was stellar athlete, he received scholarships from only Emporia State, University of Tulsa and Oklahoma State. He decided on going to Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State University had very high hopes for Sanders and football. They demanded at least 50-60 hours a week due to which Sanders lacked behind in his schoolwork. During his freshman and sophomore year, Sanders played second string to Thurman Thomas. During his junior here, Sanders became the starter and proceeded to smash 13 NCAA records. Sanders had most rushing yards of 2,628 and most touchdowns 39 in a season, which led to his nomination for the coveted Heisman Trophy. After receiving the trophy, Sanders entered NFL instead of continuing his studies at Oklahoma State University, mostly because he wanted to support his family financially.

After entering the NFL, Sander signed a $6.1 million five-year contract with The Detroit Lions. They selected him with the 3rd overall pick in the 1989 draft. In the same year, Sanders was named Sporting News NFL Rookie of the Year. Due to a contract dispute, Sanders missed his rookie training camp in 1989. Sanders, during the regular season, ran for 18 yards in the first carry and a touchdown during his fourth. During the 1990s, Sanders was featured running back on the Lions Teams that made the playoffs. In 1991, Sanders averaged 4.5 yards per rushing attempt and compiled a total of 1,548 yards, the same year he was named NFCs Most Valuable Player by the NFL Players Association.  Although in 1992 and 1993, his scores went a little down to 1,352 and 1,115 respectively due to his injury. In 1994, he averaged 5.7 yards per rushing attempt but scored only seven touchdowns. 1997 turned to be a good year as he compiled a total of 2,053 yards rushing and averaging a 6.1 yards. At the end of 1998, Sanders had a total of 15,269. In 1997, he was named Sporting News Player of the Year.

In 1999, Sanders announced his retirement. It was believed that Sanders could have surpassed Walter Payton’s career record of 16,726 but Sanders did not choose that path. He was a well-respected and one of the league’s most popular players.

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