Barry Sanders thinks he could still rush for 75 yards with right line

Barry Sanders retired abruptly at the age of 31 after rushing for 15,269 yards during his 10-year career with the Detroit Lions.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing more difficult than tackling Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders back in his prime was getting him to open up about himself.

Sanders wanted nothing to do with the media during his playing days, but he’s changed a little. He actually goes to the Super Bowl and makes the rounds, talking to reporters at radio row.

And sometimes along the way, he even makes a bold statement, albeit undoubtedly a little tongue-in-cheek in this case.

Sanders appeared Thursday on "The Dan Patrick Show," boasting that he could still rush for 75 yards in a game, provided he had the right blockers.

Such as the Dallas Cowboys’ standout offensive line.

"I’ll take that absolutely," Sanders said. "Maybe I can give you, I don’t know, 75 yards. Sixty, 75 yards."

Sanders is 46 years old now and hasn’t played in the NFL since the 1998 season.

Even he had to chuckle when he suggested what he was capable of if he was still playing.

Sanders retired abruptly at the age of 31 after rushing for 15,269 yards during his 10-year career with the Detroit Lions.

Many fans were frustrated with him for walking away from the game so early, but Sanders was one of those guys who just did things his way and didn’t worry about what others thought of him.

Patrick asked him about one of those times. It was 1989 and Sanders was in his rookie season.

He finished 10 yards shy of the NFL rushing title because he chose not to go back into the game at the end of the regular-season finale.

He could have won the title. Sanders finished with 1,470 yards while Kansas City’s Christian Okoye had 1,480.

"I was young and ignorant," Sanders told Patrick. "That was my rookie season. I didn’t know any better."

He was named Rookie of the Year and got selected to the Pro Bowl.

"I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s been a great year, and that’s good enough for me,’" Sanders said. "I don’t need to add the rushing title to that."

That was Barry back then. He’s a little different now.