Barry Sanders to Be Honored with Statue Outside of Lions' Ford Field Next Season

Adam WellsOctober 30, 2022

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 31:  Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders announces former Lions linebacker Chris Spielmans (not pictured) induction into the Pride of the Lions during halftime of a regular season NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions on October 31, 2021 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are honoring arguably the greatest player in franchise history with a statue in front of Ford Field.

During halftime of Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, the Lions announced they are placing an eight-foot bronze statue of Barry Sanders outside Ford Field before the start of the 2023 season.

Detroit Lions @Lions

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lions?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lions</a> announced at halftime during today's Homecoming game that <a href="https://twitter.com/ProFootballHOF?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ProFootballHOF</a> RB <a href="https://twitter.com/BarrySanders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BarrySanders</a> will have his legacy permanently cemented in Detroit with a statue at <a href="https://twitter.com/fordfield?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FordField</a>.

Sanders spent his entire 10-year playing career with the Lions from 1989 to 1998. He is the franchise's all-time leader in rushing yards (15,269), rushing touchdowns (99) and total touchdowns (109).

At the time of his retirement, Sanders ranked second in NFL history in rushing yards, behind only Walter Payton (16,726). He has since been passed on the all-time list by Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Frank Gore (16,000).

The Lions retired the No. 20 jersey in 2004 in honor of Sanders, as well as other franchise icons Billy Sims and Lem Barney. He was also named to their all-time team that was announced in 2019.

Sanders is the only Lions player ever to win NFL MVP, when he shared the award with Brett Favre in 1997 after rushing for 2,053 yards.

Sanders will be the first player in Lions history to have a statue erected in his honor. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2004.