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Barry Sanders Helps Open Michigan Sports Betting With Bold Wagers

13th March, 16:05

Michigan is seeing the beginning of sports betting within the state, and how fitting that the first person to lay down a legal bet would be none other than Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders.

Sanders placed his first legal bet at the Motor City Casino sports book, and naturally, it was on a couple of local teams that haven't tasted success in some time. Sanders put down his cash on both the Lions and baseball's Detroit Tigers for next season.

The Lions haven't won a title of any kind since 1957. The Tigers? Well, they've come close, but the last few years have been near the bottom of baseball and will have the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft this June. In other words, there's not a lot there to inspire confidence that these bets will pay off in the long run.

Sanders, though, clarified that he wasn't betting on the Lions to win the Super Bowl, not yet anyway. Just make the playoffs.

Sanders is Mr. Detroit, and it's neat to see him getting involved in the start of legalized sports gambling in Michigan. If the bets pay off and the teams taste any success in what's become a rough sports landscape in the city, plenty of fans will likely line up to cheer and thank Sanders for putting down his money on the local guys.

To see Sanders run the ball for Lions fans through the years was to believe given what he was able to do with the team on the field. Sanders routinely had the quickness and deft ability to break plenty of ankles on the football field and remains one of the greatest highlights in the game fans love watching even years after his retirement. Athleticism is something that came naturally to Sanders, no matter whether he was on the grass or the hardwood, something that was revealed recently.

With the Lions, Sanders rushed for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He was routinely thought of as the best running back in the league, and would have shattered plenty of NFL rushing records had he decided to keep playing. Sanders, however, walked away from the game in 1999 on the eve of training camp, which stunned the Lions and all of their fans. The parties then went through a frustrating split for multiple years, based mostly upon the fact that the franchise made him pay back part of his contract amid retirement. It is a situation not unlike what is happening with Calvin Johnson currently.

Since, time has healed all wounds and Sanders has patched things up with the Lions and has become engaged in their alumni group. He also makes several visits a year to games the team is playing in, and was recently named to Detroit's All-Century team, which is a major feather in his cap given what he was able to do as a team leader and a dominating force in the franchise.

As a result of his early retirement, Sanders maintains his health and vitality and looks phenomenal. It's not a stretch to say that he could possibly still grind out some tough yards in the league at this point in time.

It's always nice to see a classy man like Sanders get involved and stay within the city he lives.