The Detroit Lions drafted Sanders with the third overall pick in 1989.
Sanders first season in the league was a huge success. He rushed for a total of 1,470 yards, just ten yards shy of the season leader.
Though not big by most standards, Sanders capitalized on his size by running low to the ground making him less of a target for would-be tacklers.
Sanders carried the load for the Lions during his 10 seasons in Detroit. He rushed for 1,000 yards each year and eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark in 1997.
Just the 3rd player to rush for 2,000 yards, Sanders was carried off the field following the game. During the 1997 season, Sanders also rushed for 100 yards or more in an NFL-record 14 consecutive games.
Sanders's running style often left opponents grasping for air.
Sanders rushed for over 1000 yards in each of his ten seasons. He was famous for his ankle-breaking cuts and elusive running style.
On December 21, 1997 against the NY Jets, Sanders completed the greatest season of his career, running for 183 yards and eclipsing the 2000-yard-mark for the season.
After rushing for 15,269 yards, and being named to eight All-Pro teams and ten Pro Bowls, Sanders retired from football at the age of 31.
Sanders held nearly every Lions’ rushing record and numerous all-time NFL records, at the time of his retirement.
Sanders at his Enshrinement in 2004.
Sanders' Hall of Fame mural.
Sanders' Hall of Fame bust.