BARRY SANDERS NEWS
The thrill of a lifetime for anyone who pays attention to or is invested in the Detroit Lions revolves around meeting Barry Sanders, or at the very least, getting to interact with the legendary running back who for years carved up defenses and made himself a star in the Motor City. And a new crop of Lions are getting baptized to meeting a player that most would consider one of the greats of all-time in the league.
Monday, Sanders stopped by Lions headquarters and graced not only head coach Matt Patricia with his presence, but running back Kerryon Johnson and rookie offensive lineman Frank Ragnow. Those guys were Detroit's first two picks of the 2018 draft, and will be looking to build a foundation toward helping a Lions running game which has been inconsistent since nearly the days when Sanders left in 1999.
Here's a look at the meetings that took place with everyone. Note the smiles on every single face when lined up with one of the greatest rushers
It makes sense that Johnson would be excited, particularly. Speaking immediately after he was picked up by Detroit in the draft, Johnson was asked about the history of the position in Detroit, and while he said he didn't know much, he admitted it was an honor to be drafted to the team which once employed one of the game's true greats in Sanders. As a quote presented by WJR's Michael Stets on Twitter showed after the running back was picked in the draft, Johnson is quite excited about his new surroundings and his new backfield he will join.
"I wish I was alive during that time to watch him in person. He was a fantastic running back and just going to the same organization as him is awesome. It’s like a dream come true,” Johnson said. Immediately upon saying that, plenty of folks in Detroit likely felt mighty old. But Johnson was born in 1997, so it stands to reason that he wouldn't remember anything about Sanders from his youth. The running back retired in 1999, and while he left young, his highlights have been passed down from generation to generation, likely something Johnson already knows.
The good news for Johnson? He will now be able to pick Sanders' brain plenty, given he works with the team from time to time in the community and hangs around the locker room and facility from time to time, much like he has done this past week. It's likely this has been quite the experience for Johnson, who's bright smile shows just how thrilled he was to stand up next to Sanders, a nice guy who packs a big personality himself.
Alumni are important to the Lions, so it's nice to see Sanders making himself a part of the team again and connecting with the younger players and new coaches. It's nice to see this connection playing out in the offseason and the Lions getting comfortable with the franchise's true living legend.
Source: 247 Sports | Max Demara | June 4, 2018