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Monday, August 18, 2008
Detroit Lions: Franchise Player

By Kevin Seifert

Posted by's Kevin Seifert
 Steve Woltmann/NFL Photos/Getty Images
 One of the greatest in history, Barry Sanders was voted the greatest Detroit Lion of all time.

Readers' pick: Barry Sanders, RB

Can't argue with overwhelmingly selecting the player who might have had the single-best running skills of any back in NFL history. Barry Sanders finished with nearly 95 percent of the vote.

Sanders had moves that left even the best tacklers grabbing air. He could change directions quicker than anyone, and sometimes you wondered how his ankle withstood all of the stops and starts.

Sanders amassed at least 1,000 yards in all 10 of his NFL seasons. His 1997 performance was one of the all-time best: At least 100 yards in 14 consecutive games and a total of 2,053 yards on the season.

Of course, it says something about the history of Lions football that the player with the next-highest votes, quarterback Bobby Layne, ended his Detroit career 40 years ago. Layne, in fact, remains the Lions' all-time leading passer (15.710 yard) and also owns the franchise record for most career touchdown passes (118).

That no one has surpassed Layne's records during the past four decades tells you all you need to know about Lions history.