Chat with Barry Sanders
Sanders retired from pro football in 1999, just before the start of the NFL season, after a short, yet spectacular, 10-year career. He was elected to the all-Pro team in every year, while also earning the 1997 MVP, after becoming the third player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards. When he retired, he was 1,457 yards short of the all-time rushing mark, which was then held by Walter Payton.
Sanders and Alltel Wireless are giving football fans the chance to travel with their Circle of Friends via private jet to any regular season college or pro football game of their choice with the Alltel "My Circle Gridiron Getaway" sweepstakes. The text-to-win promotion will award five grand prize winners and their Circle of Friends with a VIP football experience, and Sanders will join one of the five lucky fans to tailgate. Beginning August 30, fans can enter the sweepstakes by texting the word JET to 57533 or by logging onto AlltelFootball.com.
Send in your questions now and join Sanders at 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Buzzmaster (2:27 PM)
We've got Barry!
Jay (Brooklyn, NY)
Hey Barry I'm a big fan. Have you ever thought or wanted to play a different other than running back?
Barry Sanders (2:30 PM)
Yes. When I was in high school, most of my senior and junior year, I played defensive back. And before my coach moved me to RB, I thought I'd try to get a scholarship playing CB. I loved hitting a guy and loved stopping him from getting the ball. I love the contact part. I absolutely loved playing defense and thought I was going to get a scholarship to college playing CB. During one spring at Oklahoma State there were brief conversations about moving me.
So, tell me Barry, what kind of tailgating food do you like? I'm going to win this sweepstakes and I want to make sure I've got something you like on the grill.
Barry Sanders (2:31 PM)
All of the standard stuff. Plenty of hamburgers and things like that. Sodas. It never hurts of have some cookies of some kind. Anything basically that you can eat with a hamburger bun or hot dog bun is fine with me.
Zeb Perrin (Det)
Obviously you know a thing or two about running the ball, saying that, what do you think of the Lions pick Kevin Smith, the recent signing of Rudi Johnson and the year the Lions may have?
Barry Sanders (2:32 PM)
I thought it was a smart move for Kevin Smith. I think he was one of the underrated players in the draft. I think he'll surprise a lot of people. I think people were decieved by the fact that he played in that conference and probably weren't giving him a lot of credit.
Barry, what do you think about the Rudi Johnson taking over your former job with the Lions as the RB? Do you think this pick up will help out the team?
Barry Sanders (2:33 PM)
I think so. I think he has a really good track record with the Bengals. He put up some really good years. He's a good, tough running back that has some break away speed. He can get you the tough yards. I'm surprised the Bengals got rid of him. I'm sure they had their reasons. A lot of times, you see decisions like that made for financial reasons. I think it was a good move. If he plays like he did in Cincinnati, the Lions could have a very good and very dependable running game this year.
Barry, after your last playing days there were sevral rumors to you coming back to the league to play. Can you talk about either the truth to those or about the process you went through in making the decision to not play again? Thanks
Barry Sanders (2:34 PM)
No, there wasn't really any truth to it. I would hear some things myself. Probably because I didn't make any statements, it left it up to interpretation. But there was no real truth or threat that I was going to come back.
When you see highlights of your playing days do you ever think "damn, I was good!" I mean do you ever shock yourself looking back at how good you were?
Barry Sanders (2:35 PM)
Thank you. You don't always know how a play turns out even if you were a part of it. It is surprising sometimes to go back and look at a play and see how it turns out to someone who was watching it.
are you pulling for anyone in any particlular place so you can see a good game?
Barry Sanders (2:37 PM)
Not really. There are a lot of good games. Wherever we end up will be fine. I just like watching a good game. I'm not pulling to go to one place or another.
Billy (Los Angeles, CA)
Who do you currently find as the most exciting football player to watch?
Barry Sanders (2:38 PM)
The most exciting player to watch, it would be hard to choose one. Any time you look at what Tom Brady has been able to accomplish over his career. Something good is going to happen when the ball is in his hands, especially when you add Randy Moss and Wes Welker to the mix. Then you go to Peyton Manning with Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. That's a great offense as well. LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson are two RBs that I like to watch.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
You always played on Thanksgiving Day. Do you enjoy Thanksgiving more now or when you were with the Lions?
Barry Sanders (2:40 PM)
It'd be hard to say. It was certainly a real treat for us to suit up and play Thanksgiving Day. You were pretty much the only game in town. My Thanksgiving meal today isn't as exciting as it used to be. It was definitely fun being a part of that tradition that the Lions have. I certainly would have to say that about the time that I was able to spend in uniform and play on Thanksgiving. I probably enjoyed the Thanksgivings a little bit better when I played.
Tim (Big Spring Texas)
I spent many a game watching you in the Silver Dome, What game statnds out as your most memoriable?
Barry Sanders (2:43 PM)
Hmmm, the most memorable in the Silver Dome..The game I remember a lot for some reason is my first game. It was just bizarre in so many ways, because I had held out of summer camp. I don't think I signed until the Wednesday or Thursday of the first game. I quickly got to town. The way I understood the story, I was just going to suit up and not play. They had given me a couple of players in the new offense they were running. We were playing hte Cardinals in the Dome. It was one of those typical NFL games -- it was a defensive battle and some time late in the third quarter. Then my coach asked me if I wanted to go in and I was thinking, this is not real. My first run, I was able to break free for a 17-18 yard gain. The crowd went absolutely crazy, because they were waiting to see me play because I had missed so much camp.
Mr. Sanders do have you ever thought about doing commentary or coaching in the nfl?
Barry Sanders (2:44 PM)
I haven't ever thought about doing commentary. Maybe at some point. It seems like a fun job to have. Something interesting to do. I just never saw myself really doing that type of a job. Coaching, I think it's a great thing to do and I don't think I really have the time right now to devote to something like that. Maybe some point down the line, you never know.
Barry Sanders (2:46 PM)
The Alltel My Circle Gridiron Getaway where fans can win an opportunity to come to a college or pro game of your choice with 10 of your friends. There's also a tailgate I will also join you. You can send a text of JET to 57533 or visit AlltelFootball.com.
Buzzmaster (2:46 PM)
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