Number 17 on the NFL Network’s “Top 100” is Barry Sanders, who was a running back. I am a Walter Payton fan. I actually compare other players to him because he also had character. And Payton played by and large for a poor team and still was a running giant. Barry Sanders manages to keep pace with my hero.
Sanders was drafted in 1989 as the third pick in the first round by the Detroit Lions. He was the Heisman Trophy winner, but gave up his senior year at Oklahoma State to play pro ball. Sanders had a reasonably short career lasting 10 seasons, playing in 153 games. Like my hero Payton, he played for a team that struggled most of the time that he played with them.
Some of Barry Sanders’ records included having five 1,500-yard rushing years. He had a record 14 straight 100-yard games. Sanders gained 2,053 yards in one season, and gained 1,000 yards in all of his seasons.
I had to watch Barry Sanders run every year at least in two games because the Lions were in the same division as the Chicago Bears. It never matters how tough the Lions are; they always seem to be harder on the Bears, and when Sanders ran for them, it was even truer.
If you have never seen Barry Sanders run, I urge you to go the link I have provided. His running style defies description. He changes direction at will.
Many fans feel as I do and gave Sanders a fan ranking of Number Four.
Sanders shocked the football world when he retired after just 10 seasons. He was in good health and there was no way he wouldn’t end up as the leading rusher of all time.
There was a rumor at the time that Sanders was such a big fan of Walter Payton that he didn’t want to ultimately upstage him.
One of the things that is lost in the statistical black hole about Sanders is that he was a great receiver and was very efficient at gaining yardage after the catch.
Barry Sanders was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Much as Payton, he left the league with a little more class than when he found it.
NFL Network’s Website, “Barry Sanders RB”
Hall of Fame Website, “Barry Sanders”
You Tube Website, “NFL Top 100 Players #17-Barry Sanders”