When I was a child, the Detroit Lions were basically a two-man team in my book: running back Barry Sanders and wide receiver Herman Moore. Of course, there were guys like Chris Spielman that were incredibly fun to watch, but no one really touched Sanders and Moore.
Today, the Lions have wide receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford -- they'll surely go down as career-greats in Detroit. Ndamukong Suh will probably end up being one of the greats, too.
But if I had to pick one favorite player, just one, it'd be a no-brainer: Barry Sanders all the way. Moore would be No. 2.
Maybe it was the way Sanders pinballed through defenses. Maybe it was the way that he didn't celebrate after scoring. The NFL's third-leading career rusher epitomized grace and beauty on the field, along with stylish humility and sportsmanship.
Sunday is a good day to wax nostalgically. Only a few more weeks until football starts -- and I can't wait. Sure, I was a Lions fan as a youngster. Most kids in Michigan grow up cheering on the Lions -- as much as it hurt in the past, it seems like all those years of suffering might just be worth it.
And if you ask me, Sanders, hands down, was the greatest running back the game has ever seen. I'm not sure anyone will ever run the ball like he did.
I spent some time between loads of laundry and dog walks to watch Sanders highlights. Doing so in slow motion emphasizes the grace and beauty I described earlier. His vision was incredible. There one second, gone the next -- that's how he operated. And, if you look closely enough, you can see the look of pure frustration on the defenders' faces.
They knew Sanders was one of a kind. I'm sure of it.
Now that I'm done reliving the past -- and I barely scratched the surface, mind you -- I encourage you to watch the highlight reel I included in this post. Get lost in Barry's greatness. Soothe your soul by watching one of the NFL's greatest players make grown men look like silly schoolyard kids.
And when you're done, hit the replay button and do it all over again.
He's third in NFL history with 15,269 rushing yards. Trivia question: Who are the two ahead of Sanders? No cheating. Leave a comment below.
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