Barry Sanders is arguably the greatest running back in NFL history and on Tuesday he joined Doug Gottlieb to talk about his career and about his former team, the Detroit Lions. And the Lions are off to a hot start after a disappointing season last year, which came after they reached the playoffs two years ago and Sanders believes the Lions are headed in the right direction.
“This is kind of what we were hoping for, what we expected,” Sanders said. “We know that putting together a successful NFL team is something that has to happen over time. It’s something that, in our case anyway because were were coming from such mediocrity, is really going to have to be developed and you’re going to have to strategically put together a team that can compete.”
Sanders left the NFL in 1998 after 10 seasons and gave up the chance to make a run at Walter Payton’s all-time rushing yards record, which was eventually broken by Emmitt Smith. But to do this day Sanders doesn’t look back and wish they he stayed in the league and went for the record.
“It was the right time, I don’t regret it,” Sanders said. “I had 10 great years in the NFL. I had really lost that drive to continue to play the game. I had gotten to that point where I realized that the game wasn’t driving me … I thought about it for a while and for me that’s kind of what it came down to and that’s why I decided to leave and it was the right thing for me at the time.”
Adrian Peterson is currently 32nd on the all-time rushing yards list and has a long way to make a run at the record, but Sanders believes that the Minnesota Vikings running back has the best chance of anyone in the league and as good of a chance as anyone ever.
“I don’t know,” Sanders said. “He’s certainly capable. If he stays healthy he’s certainly capable. He’s that type of runner, but this is a crazy game and you don’t know whats going to happen. Hopefully they’ll put some pieces in place for him just to be able to enjoy success.”