DETROIT (WWJ) - The Detroit Lions honored their greatest player, legendary Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, on Saturday afternoon as they unveiled a bronze statute immortalizing his legacy to the franchise and the city.
The statue, which stands 8-feet-tall, had fans commenting on its immaculate detail and accurate likeness of the Lions legend when it was revealed on a live stream through the team's social media account.
"Thank you, Lions fans," Sanders said in a speech during the ceremony. "I'm so blessed and fortunate to be in this position, to have this recognition and tribute."
The piece was created by artists Omri Amrany and Lou Cella with Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany -- it is the first statue of a Lions player at the stadium.
Past and present athletes including Calvin Johnson, Lomas Brown, Billy Sims, Mike Gundy, Dan Campbell, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jared Goff, and former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn, were present for the ceremony with several speaking out in admiration of Sanders.
General manager Brad Holmes, owner Sheila Hamp and former Lions coach Wayne Fontes were also in attendance.
“If I could, I would go out to each and every Lions fan, give you a hug, tell you how much I appreciate you,” Sanders said during his speech. “It’s been such a wonderful journey for me just being lifted up and cheered on by all the Lions fans out there and Barry Sanders fans. I really appreciate it. It’s hard to express how much you really mean to me. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much all of you Lions fans for packing the Silverdome, packing Ford Field. We had some great times together."
One of the greatest players in NFL history, Sanders was a 10-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro and four-time rushing champ during his 10-year career with the Lions, who drafted him third overall in 1989.
You can watch the unveiling ceremony as provided by the Detroit Lions below: