Twenty years after announcing his retirement by sending a statement to his hometown newspaper and leaving the country, Barry Sanders says the announcement itself could have gone more smoothly, but the retirement was the right decision.
Asked by the Detroit Free Press if he should have handled it differently, Sanders said he doesn’t necessarily think he’d change anything.
“I’m not sure,” Sanders said. “Being an old, wise guy that I am, I’m careful about saying what things I would do different. You can always look back and see things that you could change. But all in all, yeah, the retirement part was a little clumsy. But the person that I was, I probably wouldn’t [change anything]. That’s really how I was going to handle it, right? So I don’t have that many regrets, as far as that.”
Sanders seemed to be frustrated with the Lions and particularly with head coach Bobby Ross, but Sanders has rarely named anything specific he disliked about Ross, with one noteworthy exception: Ross told the Lions that they shouldn’t help their opponents up after plays, thinking that it would exude toughness to knock a guy down and make him get up on his own. Sanders bristled at that, feeling that good sportsmanship requires helping up a fallen opponent.
That’s the kind of player Sanders was, one who did things his own way, up to and including the day he walked away.