DETROIT — The Detroit Lions announced at halftime during their 2022 Homecoming game against the Miami Dolphins today that Pro Football Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders will have his legacy permanently cemented in Detroit with a statue at Ford Field. Sanders will be the first Lions player to be immortalized with a statue.
"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," said Detroit Lions Principal Owner and Chair Sheila Ford Hamp. "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."
Sanders' first ballot Hall of Fame career features a myriad of accolades including NFL MVP (1997), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997), NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1989), First-team All-Pro (1989–1991, 1994, 1995, 1997), nominated to the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 NFL seasons (1989–1998), led the League in rushing yards four times (1990, 1994, 1996, 1997), led the NFL is rushing touchdowns in 1991, as well as being named to the 1990s All-Decade Team and the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. Sanders also was just the third person in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards or more in a season, gaining 2,053 yards in 1997, marking the 25th anniversary of his accomplishment this 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 sculpture will be produced by Fine Art Studio Rotblatt Amrany with Studio Artists Omri Amrany and Lou Cella at the helm.
"Thinking about the opportunity to sculpt a titan of sport like Barry Sanders is one I find inspiring," said Amrany. "The possibilities I can explore to capture his movement and essence are endless. It's also special to have my work help mark the 20th anniversary of Ford Field and bring that notion of history forward into the future."
The Lions plan to unveil the statue in a ceremony prior to the start of the 2023 Detroit Lions season.