Lions honoring Barry Sanders with statue at Ford Field


Barry Sanders left a lasting mark on the Lions organization. Now he'll leave a lasting mark at Ford Field.

The Lions announced at halftime of Sunday's game against the Dolphins that Sanders' legacy will be cemented in Detroit with an eight-foot statue at Ford Field to be unveiled at the start of next season. The Hall of Fame running back will be the first Lions player immortalized with a statue.

Sanders was on hand for the announcement, which was delivered by former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman, who now serves as a special assistant to owner Sheila Ford Hamp. Sanders spoke to the crowd and said his former teammates were already ribbing him about the statue's height.

“Detroit has been my home ever since I was drafted by the Lions in 1989," Sanders said in an official statement. "This statue means the city will be my home forever, it’s surreal. There is no way that I can express my gratitude to the entire Ford family, my teammates, my coaches, the Lions front office, the media, and most of all to the fans.

"As I soak it all in and reflect on my career, I recognize what a tremendous honor this is.”

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.

Ford Hamp said in a statement that the statue will ensure that "generations upon generations of fans will learn about Barry and his contributions not only to the Lions, but to the game of football."

“He is truly in a class of his own, and while we may never see a player quite as electrifying or elusive again, Barry’s legacy will live forever and be tangible right here in Detroit," said Hamp.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rey Del Rio / Stringer