Barry Sanders Bio: Career & Net Worth

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Barry Sanders is a retired American NFL player who played for the Detroit Lions for ten seasons. 

Sanders is a  Pro Bowl invitee in all of his ten NFL seasons. Further, he is also a two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year. 

The American player led the league in running yards four times with his quickness and agility. He also set himself up as one of the most elusive runners in professional football.

In 2007, Barry was named the most elusive runner in NFL history by NFL Network’s NFL Top 10 series. Further, he was also named the best short player of all time, as well as the greatest player never to bounce in a Super Bowl.

Barry Sanders is widely recognized as one of the best running backs in NFL history and is frequently hailed as the best running back of the contemporary era.

Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders (Source:

In this article, we have gathered everything about the American player’s personal and professional life. 

But, first things first, let us have a look at the quick facts about the player.

Quick Facts

Full Name Barry Sanders
Nickname Barry
Date of birth July 16, 1968
Age 55 years old
Nationality American
Ethnicity Black
Religion Christianity
Horoscope Cancer
Chinese Zodiac sign Monkey 
Place of birth Wichita, Kansas
Residence Wichita, Kansas
Drinking Yes
Food Habit Non-Vegetarian
Sexual Orientation Straight
Father’s name William Sanders
Mother’s name Shirley Ann Sanders
Siblings Ten Siblings (Two Brothers & Eight Sisters)
High School Wichita North High School
College Oklahoma State College
Profession Retired Professional Football Player
Height 5 ft 8 in
Weight 200 lb (91 kg)
NFL Draft 1989, Round: 1, Pick: 3
Played For Detroit Lions
Jersey No. 20
Position Runner back
Active Years 1989-1998
Retired on 1999
Hair color Black
Eye color Dark Brown
Married Status Divorced
Ex-Wife’s name Lauren Campbell 
Children Four (Barry J. Sanders, Nigel Sanders, Noah Sanders, and Nicholas Sanders)
Salary Under Review
Net worth $30 Million
Social Media Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Merch Funko Pop, Autographed Detroit Lions Jersey
Last Update May 2024

Barry Sanders: Early life and Education

Barry Sanders was born on July 16, 1968, in Wichita, Kansas. It is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.

Barry’s mother’s name is Shirley Ann Sanders. Likewise, his father’s name is William Sanders.

William was a self-employed construction worker, whereas Shirley was a nurse. Likewise, she also had strong religious beliefs and was active in Baptist Church.

Barry had a big family. William and Shirley had 11 children altogether. Barry is their seventh child. He had two brothers and eight sisters, including Lynn Sanders, Byron Sanders, Boyd Sanders, and Nancy Sanders. 

William always encouraged his children to work hard in academics as well as excel in sports. Barry attended Wichita North High School.

There, he earned all-state honors. Following that, Barry was offered sports scholarships by the University of Tulsa,  Emporia State University, Iowa State University, and Oklahoma State University. 

However, Barry chose to attend Oklahoma State College. He stood keen on sports ever since his childhood. He played college football in Oklahoma and started his football career. 

Barry Sanders: Age and Body Measurements 

The football player, Barry Sanders, was born in the year 1968. So, he is currently 55 years old.

He was born in the Monkey year, according to the Chinese calendar. It is the ninth year of the 12-year cycle of animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Talking about Barry’s physique, he has an athletic build. He maintains his body with daily exercise and healthy nutrition. Moreover, he weighs about 92 kg (203 lb) and stands 5 feet 8 inches in height.

He wears shoes of size 13(US). Likewise, he does not have any tattoos on his body. Likewise, Barry has black hair and dark brown eyes. His nationality is American, whereas his ethnicity is Black. 

Further, Barry’s zodiac is Cancer. Sapiens with the Cancer sign are loyal, protective, intuitive, and caring. They are also intense and incredibly attractive, and charismatic.

Barry Sanders is no different. Additionally, Barry is known as a cooperative and tactful guy.

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Barry Sanders: College Career 

Sanders’ college career started with his enrollment to play football at Oklahoma State University. He wore the jersey No. 21 for the Oklahoma State Cowboys from 1986 to 1988.

During Barry’s first two years, he backed up All-American Thurman Thomas. Likewise, in 1987, Barry led the nation in yards per kickoff return (31.6).

At the same time, he also rushed for 600 yards and scored eight touchdowns, including four on special teams returns.

Later, Thurman moved on to the NFL, and Barry became the starter for his junior year.

The American football player led the country in 1988 in what is regarded as one of the exemplary individual seasons in college football history.

He averaged 7.6 yards per run and over 200 yards per game, including rushing for over 300 yards in four games.

Further, Barry also set collegiate football season records with 2,628 yards running, 3,248 total yards, and, 234 points. He also had 39 touchdowns and 37 rushing touchdowns.

Further, he played five consecutive 200-yard games, at least two touchdowns in 11 straight games, and at least three touchdowns nine times.

Likewise, in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, Barry also ran for 222 yards and scored five touchdowns in his three-quarters of action. Holiday Bowl is a game that is not included in the official NCAA season statistics.

Because of his notable achievements, Barry was recognized as the most outstanding college player in the nation. As a result, Sanders was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1998. 

Barry was in Tokyo, Japan, with his team during the Heisman Trophy win. His team was preparing to face Texas Tech in the Coca-Cola Classic.

Barry Sanders left Oklahoma State before his senior season to start his NFL career. 

Barry Sanders: Professional Career 

In the 1989 NFL Draft, The Detroit Lions selected the Heisman Trophy winner as their 3rd overall pick. Barry owes his selection to the then-coach of the Lions, Wayne Fontes. 

The management team of the Detroit Lions had considered drafting Deion Sanders instead of Barry Sanders. However, Wayne realized Barry’s potential and convinced the team to draft Barry Sanders.

Barry Sanders was given Jersey No. 20. Billy Sims and Lem Barney had previously worn the number. They were among the greatest players that the Lions ever had. 

Further, in the early 1980s, Billy Sims was one of the league’s best running backs. So, Wayne Fontes requested Barry to wear the number in order to pay tribute to Billy Sims. 

1997 was Barry Sanders’ greatest season when he became a 2,000 running yards club member.

The American player rushed for 14 straight 100-yard games for an NFL record, including two 200-yard efforts.

He became only the third player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a single season. Likewise, he was the first player since O. J. Simpson ran for 2000 yards in 14 back-to-back games.

1998 was Barry’s last season in NFL. In his last season in the NFL, Sanders ran for 1,491 yards and, unfortunately, ended his four-year streak of running for over 1,500 yards in a season.

10 years of NFL career was rewarding to Barry as he achieved the greatest heights of success. In spite of his individual success, he could not lead the Detroit Lions to the Super Bowl during his stay at the Lions.

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On July 27, 1999, Barry Sanders announced that he was retiring from his career as a professional football player.

Barry’s retirement was made public by faxing a letter to his hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle.

In the letter, the American player wrote:

“Shortly after the end of last season, I felt that I probably would not return for the 1999–2000 season. I also felt that I should take as much time as possible to sort through my feelings and make sure that my feelings were back with conviction. Today, I officially declare my departure from the NFL.”

He left NFL with tons of achievements. He had run 15 269 yards in his 10-year career. It is the highest total rushing yards ever by any NFL player in a 10-year time. 

Barry Sander’s retirement was very unexpected and controversial. There were many theories on why the player decided to leave such a fulfilling career. 

Barry Sanders enjoying
Barry Sanders hanging out with Lions fans after the game (Source: Twitter)

However, later it became known that he willingly retired and was not forced by anyone to do so. His issues with the management team and direction of the Detroit Lions and the resulting lack of success also contributed to his retirement. 

Barry Sanders has always appeared in various Lions’ events despite Barry’s disappointment with the Lions.

Further, Barry also rejoined the Lions in a paid role as the team’s ambassador in 2017. Therefore, we can say that things have now patched up between Barry and the Lions. 

Barry Sanders: Wife and Kids 

The Hall of Fame running back Barry was married to Lauren Campbell. They got married in November 2000, a year after Barry announced his surprise retirement. 

Lauren worked as a weekend news anchor at Detroit’s NBC affiliate. She was also a former model. 

Unlike many celebrities, who leave no stone unturned when it comes to weddings and celebrations, the couple chose to have a private wedding ceremony. They held the ceremony in the Detroit Golf Club and invited only about 50 guests. 

Barry Sanders with his ex wife
Barry Sanders with his ex-wife, Lauren (Source:

The wedding was not an abrupt decision. The couple had dated for six years before they finally decided to tie the knot. 

Like all the brides, Lauren looked flawless at her wedding. She wore a Diamond Collection gown with a halter-style, lace-covered bodice and a long skirt with a cathedral-length train to the wedding ceremony. 

Reports from various sources say that Barry had not invited his Father to the wedding. Reports say that the Father and son had a fallout because of Barry’s unexpected and untimely retirement announcement.   

Sanders and Lauren together had their first kid, Nigel, only nine months after the wedding. They also had two more children, Noah Sanders and Nicholas Sanders. 

Barry also had his oldest son, Barry J. Sanders, from his other relationship. More detail about his other relationship is not known. 

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The love story of Barry and Lauren had a fallout in 2012. After 12 years of marriage, Barry filed a divorce from his wife Lauren in the Oakland Circuit County Court. 

The actual reason behind the breakdown of the marital relationship is not known. The couple thus got separated in 2012 and have been living separately since then. Barry and Lauren had joint custody of their children. 

Since her divorce, Lauren has not been seen with any other guy, and there has been no news or speculations about her new love affair or marriage. She has kept her personal life low-key.

Barry Sanders: Social Media

Barry Sanders has a significant presence on social media. He is active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Barry is present on Instagram as @barrysanders and has more than 203k followers. He follows players like Stephan Curry, Aaron Donald, Calvin Johnson Jr., Kyler Murray, and Jared Goff

Further, he also follows personalities like Snoop Dogg. Barry often shares his professional and charity works on Instagram. 

Likewise, the American Player is present on Twitter as @BarrySanders. He has more than 418k followers on Twitter. 

Furthermore, Barry is also active on Facebook. His Facebook page bio describes him as a “Hall of Famer, NFL MVP, NFL 100, Heisman Trophy Winner, Businessman & Family man.”

Additionally, Barry also has his own YouTube Channel. The channel has more than 1.3k subscribers. On his YouTube Channel, Barry usually shares his personal moments and various commercials. 

You can follow Barry Sanders on various social media platforms to know more about him. 

Barry Sanders: Net Worth 

The American player is one of the players who have made fortunes in his playing career. Most of the earnings of Barry Sanders are from the time he played in the NFL.

Barry’s NFL salary was on a high scale. Reports say that he used to get paid $450,000 to $700,000 per annum.

Barry has made enough for himself and his family to live quite a luxurious life with his successful NFL career. However, Barry also lost much of his wealth following his divorce. 

The former American runner back, Barry Sanders’ total net worth, is about $30 million.

Additionally, Barry also does various commercials that add to his net worth. Some of the commercials that featured Barry are Home Solar Commercial, Nike Commercial, Rocket Mortgage Commercial, etc. 

Barry Sanders: Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Barry Sanders also an author?

Barry Sanders published his book called “Barry Sanders: Now You See Him” in 2003. The book is an autobiography and unravels the truth behind his sudden retirement in 1999. 

Is Barry Sander’s Father still alive?

No, Barry’s Father is not alive. He left this world in 2011, at the age of 74, due to complications of lymphoma. 

Has Barry Sanders appeared in a movie?

Yes, Barry made movie appearances in ‘Undeclared (2005)’ and ‘Touchback (2011)’ He also appeared on ‘The NFL on CBS.’


Aayusha Bhattarai

Aayusha Bhattarai is a dedicated writer with a passion for uncovering the fascinating stories behind athletes' lives. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, she brings readers on a journey through the triumphs, struggles, and inspirations of their favorite players.


Athlete Profiles Net Worth


  • Aayusha explores the off-field lives of athletes, from their hobbies and interests to their family dynamics.
  • She keeps readers informed with the latest news and developments in the world of sports.


Aayusha's passion for sports journalism stems from her love of both writing and athletics. With a background in journalism and a keen interest in sports, she combines her talents to deliver compelling stories that resonate with readers.

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