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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Detroit Lions — Barry Sanders made debut 26 years ago

ALLEN PARK — Twenty-six years ago today, Barry Sanders first worked his magic for the Detroit Lions.

Sanders, who had been the third overall draft pick for the Lions in 1989, was a holdout during training camp due to contract issues. So when he signed, he had just two days to prepare for his first game on Sept. 10, 1989, against the Phoenix Cardinals at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Coach Wayne Fontes didn’t start him since he didn’t know the offense.
Boxscore with Barry Sanders' first series in debut with Lions.

In the third quarter, Sanders made his debut. He ran on four straight plays — 18 yards, 5 yards, 3 yards and then 3 yards for a touchdown.

The official scorer added one line after that Lions’ series: “The roar seemed to be restored.’’

In my years of sports writing I’ve looked at hundreds, maybe thousands, of boxscores and never seen a comment like that.

How fitting it was for a future Hall of Famer.

Sanders finished the game with nine carries for 71 yards.

Ten years later, when he retired he had 15,269 rushing yards and 99 rushing touchdowns.

(Read more about Barry Sanders and the other Lions’ greats, in my upcoming book, “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be published on Oct. 27. Pre-order here.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what you conveniently neglect, Paula. After 10 years with the Lions, Sanders could see the handwriting on the wall. The team was would not be Super Bowl caliber any year soon -- and haven't been ever since. He walked, leaving $8 million, big money at the time, on the table. Had the Lions not been so inept under the Fords and their parade of clown coaches/front office staff, and Barry stayed, he would have set the all-time rushing record so high it would never be approached again. By all accounts, Barry Sanders was and is considered a class act. It took the Lions to screw it up. As a long time fan before, when Barry walked away from the Lions -- so did I. The last 17 years have proven us both to have made the right call.

3:02 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The roar seemed to be restored and you've looked at thousands of boxscores since and never seen a comment like that? No wonder. Um, Paula, boxscores typically don't feature comments. They're all about stats. Hello?

3:10 AM 
Anonymous Tom said...

I can't believe it has been that long since Barry's debut already. What an awesome sign of things to come with 9 carries for 71 yards. I still remember seeing the highlights of his first carry that went for 18 yards.

4:19 PM 
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