The Lions made the announcement during the halftime show at Sunday’s homecoming game. This dedication will make Sanders the first ever Lions player to become immortalized with a statue.
Hall of Famer Barry Sanders has been honored with many awards, such as NFL MVP (1997), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1989), and First-Team All-Pro (1989–1991, 1994, 1995, 1997).
Sanders has also been nominated in each of his ten seasons and has been named to the 1990s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. The former Lions player was also the third person in NFL history to rush over 2,000 yards in a season.
“Detroit has been my home ever since I was drafted by the Lions in 1989. This statue means the city will be my home forever, it’s surreal,” said Sanders. “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.”
The statue will be sculpted by Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany out of Illinois. The team plans to unveil the eight-foot statue in a dedicated ceremony at the start of the Lions 2023 season.
“It is with immense pride that we share the news that we will be honoring the greatest running back in the history of football with a statue in the city we represent,” Detroit Lions Principal Owner and Chair Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. “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.”