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The Legend Lives On – Barry Sanders Immortalized at Ford Field



By: Paul Garwood

Barry Sanders, a legendary figure in the world of football, has left an indelible mark on the sport. Known for his incredible agility, speed, and unmatched elusiveness, Sanders’ legacy as one of the greatest running backs of all time remains unquestioned. To honor his immense contributions to the game, the Detroit Lions have unveiled a stunning new statue outside of Ford Field, serving as a lasting tribute to Sanders’ extraordinary career.

Positioned at the intersection of Montcalm and Brush streets, amidst the bustling urban landscape of downtown Detroit, stands this magnificent 8-foot bronze sculpture depicting none other than one of the most legendary figures in the history of the NFL.

Receiving the honor, Sanders became the inaugural player in franchise history, and the star, known for his humility, expressed his gratitude towards the organization’s kind gesture.

After extensive research and careful planning, Omni Amrany and Lou Cella, studio artists from Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany, accomplished the construction of the Sanders statue. This talented duo, renowned for their expertise in crafting commissioned sports statues completed their work on the Sanders statue in December, following months of preparation.

Throughout his NFL career, Sanders, who is 55 years old, dedicated all of his ten seasons to the Lions, accumulating an impressive total of 15,629 rushing yards and 99 touchdowns. Remarkably, out of those ten seasons, there was only one (1993) in which he fell short of reaching the 1,300-yard rushing mark.

In the 1989 NFL draft, the Lions made the decision to choose the former Oklahoma State Cowboy as their No. 3 overall pick. Although the team’s performance in Detroit was unpredictable during his time there, Sanders experienced remarkable success while adorned in the Honolulu blue and silver jersey.

Sanders, upon his retirement on July 27, 1999, left the NFL with a mere 1,457 yards remaining to surpass the late Walter Payton and claim the prestigious title of the league’s all-time leading rusher. Although he fell short of accomplishing this remarkable feat, Sanders’s career was nothing short of extraordinary. His impressive list of accolades includes being named a Pro Bowler a staggering 10 times, All-Pro 10 times, leading the league in rushing yards four times, winning Offensive Player of the Year twice, being crowned NFL MVP, and securing a multitude of other notable achievements. Additionally, Sanders can boast about being honored with a spot on the NFL’s esteemed 100th-anniversary team.

Amidst the proceedings, a multitude of former and present Lions athletes, esteemed figures in Michigan sports, renowned personalities, and revered NFL icons, including but not limited to Lions head coach Dan Campbell, Mike Gundy, Marcus Allen, Joe Dumars, Tom Izzo, Tim Brown, Billy Sims, Rick Mahorn, Jalen Rose, Peyton Manning, Rod Woodson, Big Sean, Ronnie Lott, Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Jack Nicklaus, Steve Yzerman, Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Barry Bonds, Darren McCarty, Marshawn Lynch, and Jerry Rice, bestowed accolades upon Sanders.

This article celebrated the significance of this moment, highlighting the enduring impact of Sanders’ career and the recognition he rightfully deserves. The statue serves as a symbol of his remarkable contributions to the sport, inspiring generations of athletes and fans alike. It is a fitting tribute to a true legend of the game.

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