SportsCenter reveals Barry Sanders is retiring from NFL [Video]

On July 28, 1999, the great Barry Sanders announced he was hanging up his cleats and walking away from the Detroit Lions and the game of football.

The news absolutely devastated me (I was 21 years old at the time) as I had got to know Barry a bit during my time working for the organization and he was by far my favorite player in the league.

Unfortunately, Sanders retired too soon, despite being just one Barry-like season away from breaking the NFL rushing record which was held by Walter Payton.

SportsCenter reveals Barry Sanders is retiring from NFL [Video]

From Oklahoman.com:

“Shortly after the end of last season, I felt that I probably would not return for the 1999-2000 season. I also felt that I should take as much time as possible to sort through my feelings and make sure that my feelings were backed with conviction. Today, I officially declare my departure from the NFL.

“It was a wonderful experience to play in the NFL, and I have no regrets. I truly will miss playing for the Lions. I consider the Lions’ players, coaches, staff, management and fans my family. I leave on good terms with everyone in the organization. I have enjoyed playing for two great head coaches, Wayne Fontes and Bobby Ross, who are good coaches and leaders. I am not involved in a salary dispute of any kind. If I had played this season, I would have earned a more than satisfactory salary.

“The reason I am retiring is simple: My desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it. I have searched my heart through and through and feel comfortable with this decision.

“I want to thank all of the fans and media who made playing in the NFL such a wonderful experience. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of them. Although I was not able to honor many of your requests for autographs and interviews, it was not because I overlooked the importance of those who asked.

“Finally, I want to thank my family and friends for their support and guidance. I wish my teammates, coaches and the entire Lions organization all the best.”

Here is a video of the original announcement that was made on SportsCenter.

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This is still hard for me to watch.

 

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