WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The Detroit Lions NFL team has unveiled a statue honoring Wichita native and Lions legend Barry Sanders.

The statue was unveiled on September 16, 2023 outside Ford Field.

“It is with immense pride that we share the news that we will be honoring the greatest running back in the history of football with a statue in the city we represent,” Lions owner Sheila Hamp said in a statement.


Sanders averaged 99.8 yards rushing per game — trailing only Jim Brown in NFL history — and ran for 15,269 over 10 seasons with Detroit. Sanders suddenly retired just before training camp in 1999, walking away from a chance to break Walter Payton’s rushing record.

He was an NFL MVP (1997), NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1994, 1997) and was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his 10 NFL seasons from 1989 through 1998. Sanders, who is a member of the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team, was just the third person in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards or more in a season, gaining 2,053 yards in 1997.