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Barry Sanders Essay Research Paper My article

Barry Sanders Essay, Research Paper My article that I choice was about one of the most interesting sports player?s of our time. Barry Sanders arguably the best back ever to play the game of football.

Barry Sanders Essay, Research Paper

My article that I choice was about one of the most

interesting sports player?s of our time. Barry Sanders

arguably the best back ever to play the game of football.

Barry is not one of those players who is just out there to

make money, no he loves the game and is always trying his

hardest when he is out there. In my paper there is allot

interest information about Barry that not every one knows

about him. Barry Sanders was born July 16th, 1968 in

Wichita, Kansas. He grew up in a family being one of

eleven other children. When Barry was a kid he was

considered to be too short to play football well at the

college level. In fact, his 1,417 yards rushing in his senior

year of high school wasn’t enough to impress college

recruiters. One recruiter told Barry’s coach, "We don’t

need another midget." Only two colleges offered Barry a

football scholarship. Barry accepted a scholarship from

Oklahoma State University and the rest is now history.

Here are some of Barrys career achievements that he has

done in the short time he has played the game. Which has

made him such the over achiever that he is. 1988, won the

Heisman Trophy Award for best player in the nation. 1989,

lead the NFC in rushing and was Rookie of the Year.

1992, became the Lions’ All-Time leading rusher. 1994,

rushed for the fourth best NFL season record of 1,883

yards and included a 237 yards in week 11 vs. Tampa

Bay. In 1996, became the first player in NFL history to

rush for over 1,000 yards in his first eight seasons, won the

NFL rushing title, selected to the Pro Bowl for the eighth

time and became the first player to rush for over 1,500

yards in three consecutive seasons. Sanders continues

adding to his extraordinary numbers on the field. He has

run for 1,300 yards and now stands seventh among the

NFL?s all-time rushers with 11,472, having surpassed Ottis

Anderson, O.J. Simpson and John Riggins. He?s 128 yards

behind Kansas City?s Marcus Allen, Sanders?

boyhoodhero when he was growing up in Wichita, Kan.,

and Allen was a Los Angeles Raider. Next year, providing

he keeps up this trend of 1,000-yard seasons, Sanders will

pass Franco Harris (12,120), Jim Brown (12,312) and

Tony Dorsett(12,739) and slide into third place behind Eric

Dickerson (13,259) and Walter Payton (16,726). Sanders

is the first player in league history to rush for at least 1,000

yards in eight straight seasons, and Thursday he was named

to his eighth straight Pro Bowl. "Anytime he touches the

ball, it?s a highlight reel," says Allen, now in his 15th NFL

season. "The player most fun to watch, and by far, the most

dangerous player in the game today, is Barry Sanders. He

is jus! t remarkable. He is also, in my opinion, the guy

everyone?s still trying to crack." Mention any of this to

Sanders, and you would expect him to be bemused,

wearing the kind of bored look people get when they?re

waiting in line at the grocery store. You?ve seen him being

interviewed on TV, standing or sitting in that same spot in

front of his locker, avoiding eye contact with the camera

and speaking in that unhurried monotone. There has always

been a kind of perceived uneasiness about him. But rattle

off a few of the aforementioned tales of change?especially

what his teammates and family have noticed about him

lately?and he nods knowingly and begins, very

un-Sanders like, by answering a question with a question.

"When I first came into the league, I was 20 years old," he

starts out saying. "Now I?m 28. So wouldn?t you expect

there to be some changes between 20 and 28?" Sure, you

say. He continues. "I know I?m more outgoing, especially

publicly," Sanders says. "I don?t think any! of my brothers

or sisters, though, would ever term me as quiet or reserved.

Whenever I become more comfortable with people, I get

more open. And now, I just think I?m more comfortable

outside of my own little environment and people can see

more of me, more inside of the person. Before, I was a

person who felt out of their element and was just kind of

being, sitting back and watching everything. "At home, they

knew I wasn?t just this quiet and reserved person, the way

people thought I was here. It?s just a matter of comfort,

that?s all it is. Even in the locker room, people that I?m not

real close with I can laugh and joke. And now, I?m more

prone to try to defend myself from attacks from Brett

Perriman and Herman Moore." Sanders starts cracking up.

Get it? He has just made a joke. "I can sit and talk with my

oldest son for hours and hours. Barry and I could never do

that. But the last time he called, he asked to talk tome. We

talked for quite a while. Barry, he used to make me mad

because he was just like his mother. Looks like her. Quiet

like her. I wanted him to have something of me. But I

wouldn?t let him be outgoing. ?Barry,? I said, ?you?ve got to

be different.? Ask him. He?ll remember."?William

Sanders, Barry?s father Peter Schaffer, one of Sanders?

agents, lives in Denver. He belongs to a health club where

Sanders and former Michigan receiver Mercury Hayes

joined a pick up basketball game last year. Sanders! ,

who?s 5-feet-8 and 203 pounds, wore a plain T-shirt and

shorts. Hayes? shirt said"Michigan" on the front. The next

day, a couple of Schaffer?s friends who played in the game

sought him out. "Hey, it was sure fun playing basketball

with Mercury Hayes!" they said. Schaffer didn?t have the

heart to tell them who the other guy was. Stories like that

one are still as popular as they were in 1988 — the year

Sanders won the Heisman Trophy as a junior at Oklahoma

State and turned down an invitation to the White House

because he said he had to study. Or how about the time

two years ago in Miami when Sanders spent the evening in

the lounge at the Marriott? Think you?re onto some juicy

gossip, right? Well, Sanders wasn?t attached to any bar

stool. He and Steve Atwater of the Denver Broncos were

in a corner, playing Pop-A-Shot basketball all night.

Former Lions offensive tackle Lomas Brown has a good

one, too. He can list the times Sanders has been over to his

house for dinner, but you! wouldn?t have known he was

there. "You know how it?s kids in one room, adults in

another?" says Brown, who spent 11 years with the Lions

before he signed with the Arizona Cardinals last February.

"Well, most of the time Barry would be with my kids, sitting

on the floor playing a video game or eating off their plates

watching a movie." Sanders, who has one year left on a

four-year, $17.2-million contract he signed in December

1993, still lives in the $175,000 house in Rochester Hills he

bought in 1989 after the Lions made him their first-round

draft pick. But back in Wichita, he moved his parents into a

new 7,000-square-foot house three years ago. The white

brick home, which sits on 11 acres with a private pond

stocked with bass, crappie and catfish, replaces the

three-bedroom, 850-square-foot home Barry and his 10

brothers and sisters grew up in. "You do what?s right,"

Sanders says with a shrug. Well, that includes everything

from paying the college tuitions for his brothers! and sisters

to making sure his Nike contract still has a clause that says

the company must supply his former high school football

coach with 60 pairs of shoes a year. One person who

knows Sanders best outside his family is Mark

McCormick, a newspaper reporter at the Wichita Eagle.

They grew up on the same street, Volutsia, on the city?s

north side, and have been friends since McCormick got

over the day Sanders beat him up in kindergarten. When

Sanders was attending Oklahoma State, McCormick was

studying journalism at the University of Kansas. He was on

a tight budget and got sick, losing 30 pounds one semester.

"Dang, what?s going on with you?" Sanders asked. "I?m in

college," McCormick replied. "I?m starving." Sanders

wanted to help and offered his Pell Grant money, which

McCormick refused. A few years later, after Sanders

joined the Lions, he heard that McCormick was evicted

from an apartment after getting his first job. He mailed him

$500. "I?m at the point now in our rel! ationship that I can

never repay him unless I give him a lung or a kidney,"

McCormick says. "And he still calls me all the time." After

rushing for 1,470 yards and breaking Billy Sims?

single-season club record his rookie year, Sanders gave

each of the Lions? offensive linemen a Rolex watch, valued

at more than $10,000. On the back was the inscription:

"Thanks for a great ?89 season. Barry Sanders." When

center Kevin Glover came home one day last February, a

box the size of a small refrigerator was sitting in the

driveway near his garage. In it was a big-screen TV and a

thank-you note from Sanders. "It?s not expected, but he

does it," Glover says. The TV "is something I?m going to

cherish. When I retire, I plan on getting a plaque for it that

will say, ?A gift from Barry Sanders.? " All of this giving, all

of this helping, and Sanders still turns down most of the

endorsement offers that come his way, deals that could

bring him an additional $4 million to $5 million a year, Sc!

haffer says. "You can put $1 million in front of him that he

turns down, but he?ll say yes to the Michigan state seat-belt

patrol campaign," Schaffer says. "A lot of football players

have tremendous egos. They like to see themselves on TV.

Not Barry." Sanders doesn?t decline everything, though.

He has endorsement deals with more than a half-dozen

companies, including many of the prized ones?Nike,

McDonald?s, Cadillac, 7-Eleven, and, soon to be

announced, Little Caesars. "He needs to let himself take

off," Perriman says. "He should be the Michael Jordan of

football. He could be that. Playing eight years, he knows

he?s not going to be playing forever. I tell him, ?You better

get what you deserve and what you can while you can.? He

needs to be as large in commercials as he is a player." But

Sanders won?t. He is doing more, but he won?t do it all. "I

wish there were another way of doing it," Sanders says of

endorsements. "I?m definitely more comfortable with the

game being bigger than the person." That has been

Sanders? philosophy since the fourth grade. That year, in

his first football game ever, the first time he touched the

ball, he scored on a 70-yard sweep. The next Saturday, his

coach tried him out on kickoffs. He ran the first one back

for a touchdown. His father was there. "It was 1977 and I

was sitting in my ?63 Pontiac listening to Texas beat

Oklahoma, 13-6," William Sanders says. "Must have run

for three or four touchdowns that day." In his first few

years with the Lions, much was made about Sanders?

upbringing, about the stern father and quiet mother, par!

ents who had their own distinct ways of raising their

children. "Growing up, the kids would get together and just

kind of ask the question, ?How in the world did these two

get together?? " Barry says with a laugh. Barry was

especially close to his mother?and still is. Shirley Sanders

had children spanning three decades, beginning with Diane,

born in 1959, and ending with Krista, the youngest of the

eight girls, born in 1974. Shirley delivered Barry, No. 7 on

the family?s roster, on July 16, 1968. His mother speaks in

a soft voice and is bashful around strangers. "I love it when

he comes home," she says. "We sit and talk for hours. I

miss him. I feel for him sometimes?all the attention he gets

and doesn?t want." When her husband pipes up and offers

one of his gruff opinions ("I don?t like boys to be close to

their mothers because it makes sissies out of them," he

says), Shirley smiles and rolls her eyes. Last month at the

Sanders home in Wichita, Shirley spent part of the eveni!

ng in her kitchen listening to Christian music while her

husband sat on his leather recliner watching a basketball

game. Indiana was beating up Princeton. Shirley says she

missed many of Barry?s football games when he was

growing up, mainly because Friday night was reserved for

choir practice at Paradise Baptist Church. Religion is a

central theme of the Sanders family. One of the proudest

moments in her life came when Barry sent $200,000 of his

$2.1-million signing bonus to Paradise his rookie year.

While Shirley is quiet and unassuming, her husband is

anything but. William Sanders listens to Rush Limbaugh and

Dr. Laura, smokesWhite Owl cigars and rarely leaves

home without his Cleveland Browns jacket. His favorite

college remains Oklahomabecause he listened to the

Sooners broadcasts on the radio when he was growing up.

He points out that he has collected only two autographs for

himself through the years?Troy Aikman (because he

played two seasons at Oklahoma) and Bernie Kosar!

(Cleveland). In 1994, William Sanders brought a football

to Dallas, where the Cowboys were playing the Lions.

When the teams were warming up, he was introduced to

Emmitt Smith. Sanders asked if Smith could do him a favor

and sign his football for a friend. "He said he?d get me after

the game," William Sanders says, angry as he tells the

story. As it turns out, the Lions won the game in overtime.

When he asked Smith to sign the ball, he refused. "My

Barry would never do that," Sanders says. Until this past

summer, William Sanders was working six days a week as

a freelance roofer and remodeler. Before that, he worked

on the beef-kill line at a rendering plant, firing .22s into the

skulls of cattle, among other jobs. "Barry came into money

in ?88," William Sanders says, walking up the private drive

that leads to their home. "You know, we?ll be here four

years on Memorial Day. I was never hung up on moving

out of the ghetto just to say I moved out. Money can be a

curse and a nigh! tmare if you let it control you." As nice as

his new house is, William Sanders misses his old

neighborhood. "I bought that house (on Volutsia) for

$8,200 in 1964," he says. "I paid it off in February 1984 –

$77.50 a month on a 20-year note." In those days, sleeping

arrangements were eight girls in one bedroom, three boys

in another. William was the neighborhood?s master builder

of bunk beds. And also, the chief disciplinarian. "I

remember in Barry?s senior year in high school he had on a

pair of Converse All-Stars for basketball, "William Sanders

says. "He came in one day and his shoes were untied. I told

him if he ever comes in the house again with his shoes

untied I?d break both his legs. "I was such a sergeant over

my kids. I felt I had to be." Barry?s brother Byron, who

played football at Northwestern, says, "My father doesn?t

realize that although we appear to be reserved, no one in

the world can intimidate any of his children because of the

way he was. He loved us, and ! that?s the difference."

Today, the children all grown and gone, William Sanders

misses the full house. He?s planning a family reunion for

next summer. "Let me tell you how I feel about things now,"

William Sanders says. "God told Abraham that he was a

blessing to many nations. Well, we?re thankful for the

blessings of Barry. I remember I wanted one of my sons to

go to Oklahoma so bad, so that I could go down in peace.

Now, if Barry goes into the Hall of Fame, when he?s

standing up there, on the steps in Canton, I can lay down

right there and die." "I think a lot of things that I believe

have changed, or I have just adjusted some. I think if that?s

what you really want to do, then I think you should. What

the other players around the league think about him. You

could call him the best running back, and there would be no

real argument. But you could go even further: Barry

Sanders of the Detroit Lions might be, quite simply, the

best player in the game. Were he to be judged only for the

magic he creates with a hand off, his supremacy would end

at his position. but Sanders has accomplished something

remarkable, if not unprecedented, since the days of Jim

Brown. The current of terror that begins to flow in the days

and hours before a game usually emanates from vicious

defenders and flows white-hot into the rattled psyches of

the players who earn their pay with the ball in their hands.

But alone among his offensive fellows, Sanders has

reversed that current. Sanders has a whole breed of men

best known for barking like dogs instead praying out loud.

In a week of preparing for Sanders, says Chicago Bear

linebacker Vinson Smith, "You have to not sleep for a

couple of nights." Re! ally? "Yes. Yes. "And even during

fitful dozing, says Minnesota Viking defensive tackle Henry

Thomas, who usually dreams of sacks and motor cycles,

"you sit up in the middle of the night hollering, ‘Barry!

Sanders!’ " Most people don?t just think Barry is a great

football player they also think he is a great person too.

Barry Sanders is simply the most exciting sports player to

watch. Not to mention that he has a great personality and is

a class act. This guy is so good at what he does it’s scary

and he doesn’t even have a trace of ego in him. When

Barry runs the ball he defies the laws of gravity and physics

of a moving object. He makes moves that make your eyes

pop out of their sockets and leave your mouth hanging

wide open. To me this report help my find out that Barry is

more than just a good ball player he also is a good person

that most people don?t see. Barry does not let all the

money he earns get to his head he act like you and me. At

the end of Barrys career he will probably own every single

record there is. He is on the pace to do that with no

problem. There is no doubt in my mind that Barry will be in

the Hall of Fame with ease. To bad all the sports players

are not like Barry if they were all the games you watch

would be ten times better then what they are now.

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