Coming off a season where he rushed for nearly 1,500 yards, one season removed from a 2,000-yard MVP campaign and at age-31, Barry Sanders suddenly retired from the NFL and the Detroit Lions right before training camp in 1999. If not for that earlier than expected retirement, it's not a stretch to say that if he had played a couple more years he'd be the NFL's all-time leading rusher right now.
It's easy to think Sanders was simply tired of losing. Even his retirement announcement was unique, as he sent a fax to The Wichita Eagle for the paper to publish. It was simple, to the point and with a notable punch line.
"The reason I am retiring is simple: my desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it.”"
Since he retired, amid a fractured and now repaired relationship with the Lions, the full account of why he retired and did it when he did it has never been known. That is about to change.
Barry Sanders to break silence about his retirement in new documentary
On Friday, Sanders posted a trailer on Twitter announcing his collaboration with Amazon on a documentary titled "Bye Bye Barry." It will be available to stream on Nov. 21, two days before the Lions play the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day.
Check out the trailer.
Sanders sold the documentary nicely in his post.
"The great mystery of why I walked away will be answered once and for all."
At the time of his retirement, Sanders had rushed for 15,269 yards in his career and he was 1,457 yards shy of passing the late Walter Payton for the NFL’s all-time rushing record. He's currently fourth on the all-time rushing list, behind Emmitt Smith, Payton and Frank Gore.