Sanders retired following the 1998 season after 10 years in the NFL. He was only 30 at the time, and had just come off a campaign where he’d rushed for 1,491 yards.
Even though he willingly cut his career short, in part because he wanted to preserve his health, Sanders still ranks fourth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 15,269 yards.
Known for his amazing lateral quickness, unparalleled field vision and electrifying speed, no one ever did it quite like Sanders. The math is pretty easy: He averaged approximately 1,527 rushing yards per season. That’s often good enough to compete for a rushing title in any given year.
This is in spite of the fact that Sanders played on some bad Lions teams, and defenses could focus squarely on him as the primary threat to stop. It usually didn’t matter — that’s how elusive and tough to bring down Sanders was when he had even a sliver of daylight to work with as a ball-carrier.
Sanders didn’t end his career on the best of terms with the Lions organization, but he’s been more visible around the team in recent years. Detroit is now in the midst of a new era under head coach Dan Campbell, but faces a rebuild that’ll likely last several years.