July 28, 1999 – As quiet and unassuming as he entered the National Football League, Barry Sanders left it simply by issuing a statement that he was retiring after 10 seasons as a Detroit Lions running back.
His statement, in part, read: "Today I officially declare my departure from the NFLI leave on good terms with everyone in the organization. The reason I am retiring is simple: my desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it. I have searched my heart through and through and feel comfortable with this decision. I wish my teammates, coaches and the entire Lions organization all the best."
Little fanfare. No glitzy news conference. Just a written statement and then, like one of his shimmering runs, poof! He was gone.
Barry Sanders: The NFL's #1 Most Elusive Running Back of all-time.