MICHIGAN – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed September 17, 2023, as Barry Sanders Day in Michigan. The day coincides with an unveiling of a new statue outside of Ford Field honoring the legacy of Barry Sanders, legendary Detroit Lions running back.
“Today, we honor Lions legend Barry Sanders with a new statue outside Ford Field,” said Governor Whitmer. “He played with Detroit hustle and humility, always getting the job done and supporting his team. He showed us, both with his play on the field and his work off of it, what it means to be a great athlete and a good person.
“As we enter another Lions season, let’s remember Barry Sanders, one of the greatest to ever do it, and keep on winning.”
An 8-foot bronze statue of Sanders will be unveiled outside Ford Field today. He is the first player in franchise history to be immortalized outside of the arena.
Sanders still holds numerous franchise rushing records and has the fourth-most rushing yards in NFL history, 15,269 yards. Sanders rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his 10 seasons with the Detroit Lions. He was the first running back ever to do so. He won the NFL’s MVP award in 1997 and was named first-team All-Pro six times in his legendary career in Detroit, which lasted from 1989 to 1998.
Sanders, after forgoing his senior season at Oklahoma State, made his pro debut just three days after signing with the Lions, who had made him their first-round pick and the third overall pick in the 1989 draft.
View the full proclamation here.