NFL Legend Barry Sanders Suffered ‘Heart-Related’ Health Scare

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NFL Legend running back Barry Sanders Suffered 'Heart-Related' Health Scare

NFL Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders experienced a heart-related health scare during Father’s Day weekend, he said in a statement posted to social media Friday.

NFL Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders is taking the time to prioritize his health and well-being

Sanders, who turns 56 on July 16, did not offer details on the exact nature of his condition but described the experience as “unexpected” and “a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant about our physical well-being, even when we are feeling fine.”

In his statement, the Detroit Lions legend also expressed his gratitude for the doctors, nurses, and health care professionals who treated him. According to doctor recommendation, Sanders is “taking this opportunity to prioritize my health and well-being.”

The Lions issued their own social media post saying, “Get well soon, Barry.”

At 5-foot-8, 203 pounds, Sanders was a six-time All-Pro for the Lions from 1989 to 1998. He came within 1,457 rushing yards of Walter Payton’s career rushing mark of 16,726 yards.

On July 27, 1999, Sanders announced his retirement from pro football at age 31. It was a day before Lions training camp was set to start. His NFL retirement voided $20.9 million in collective salary and bonuses, along with millions of dollars in endorsements.

Sanders ranks fourth on the NFL’s career rushing list with 15,269 yards in just 10 seasons

In a letter to The Wichita Eagle, Sanders wrote:

“Shortly after the end of last season, I felt that I probably would not return for the 1999–2000 season. I also felt that I should take as much time as possible to sort through my feelings and make sure that my feelings were back with conviction. Today, I officially declare my departure from the NFL.”

Sanders is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history. He retired ranking fourth on the league’s career rushing list with 15,269 yards in just 10 seasons, including 2,053 yards in his MVP season of 1997.

Sanders, a native of Wichita, Kansas, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. The Lions selected him No. 3 overall in the 1989 NFL draft after his Heisman Trophy-winning season with Oklahoma State.

He spent his entire career with Detroit. His number 20 was retired by the Lions on Nov. 25, 2004.

In September 2023, the Lions unveiled a bronze statue of Sanders outside Ford Field, the first player in franchise history to receive such an honor.

Last November, Bye Bye Barry, a documentary film about his decision to retire from the NFL while approaching the all-time rushing record, was released on Amazon Prime.