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Sports Then and Now



Barry Sanders: Incredible and Selfless 14

Posted on September 12, 2009 by Joe Gill
Barry Sanders left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL History

Barry Sanders left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL History

Players like Brett Favre and Michael Jordan walk away then come back then walk away then come back yet again. They can not douse the competitive fire. They need the adrenaline rush. They aren’t ready for a “normal” life even though their body may be.

Not Barry Sanders. He retired at his prime and he was only 30 years old. He left the game as arguably the best running back in NFL history. He has been content with his decision and never attempted a comeback over the 11 years since his retirement.

Wow I wish he unretired and Brett Favre stayed retired. Favre should have left on a good note rather than with all dramatics over the past two years. Barry didn’t want that. It was not in his makeup.

A totally unselfish man, Barry Sanders left the game only 1457 yards short of Walter Payton’s record. He probably would have eclipsed the record in a year or two. In Barry’s absence, Emmitt Smith broke Payton’s record and finished his career with 18,355 yards.

Great accomplishment by Emmitt Smith, there is no doubt about it. However, as me and my friends argued for years, Barry Sanders did more with little. He did not have Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, and an all star offensive line. He made due with the likes of Herman Moore and Scott Mitchell.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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