When most people think of Barry Sanders, they think of him in his Detroit Lions jersey dismantling defenses with each step he took. A master of the turf, as evidenced by the Nike Zoom Turf shoe the Oregon brand created for him, Barry decided to bow out of the game at a time when most wanted him to continue. A decision that he undoubtedly thought about long and hard, but as Monday morning analysts, we question; some of us even to this day.

Thankfully, Barry doesn’t. He is content with his decision to leave the game and allows his legacy to speak for him. Recently, we got a chance to catch up a little bit with Barry and talk to him about being a legend, his time with Nike, and his involvement with the PEPSI Max and EA Sports Madden NFL 25 Unlock a Legend Campaign.

Interview by Jacques Slade (@kustoo)

Let’s start with the video games. How often do you get to sit down and play the game?

I get to play a little bit. I have a house full of boys so I usually spend most of my time officiating the disagreements between my sons on the game. But every now and then, Dad gets a chance to play.

For me, the big thing is being included a game that is so big and popular. Through the game, I am getting introduced to a new generation of football fans that never had a chance to see me play. And it is definitely a bonus to be included in the PEPSI Max “Unlock a Legend” Promotion.

I definitely don’t play as much as I used to.

When you play, do you use your player? How do you feel about your abilities in the game?

I haven’t played with my character in a while. As far as my abilities in the game, they were definitely generous with my skillset. I am a lot more dominate in the game. The designers have always been pretty generous with my character, and I appreciate that. I get a kick out of it. I think a lot of people that play the game are familiar with that as well.  However, I am very pleased with what I can do in the game. [Laughs.]

Switching to football, are there any players you see today that remind you of yourself?

I don’t know if I would say they remind me of myself, but I have been watching the game for many years, and it amazes me how unique these players are. Look at Adrian Peterson, he puts you in the mind of so many of the great running backs, but he has his own style with the way he does it. Look at [Arian] Foster being able to do what he does, a fabulous player that is terrific in his own right. These guys are essential to their team.

I don’t know if they remind me of myself, but they definitely have a unique style that has carved out a niche and made their own place in the game.

Back when you played, you used to wear the Zoom Turf Retro. Do you remember any of the kicks you liked to play in?

The Zooms worked well with the turf and with the new turf that they are using now. I couldn’t give you a long list, but you can always pick up an Air Jordan. They are pretty popular.

Was there a shoe you liked to play in more than others?

Not really, my concern was more about the surface I was playing on. I usually made my decision based on whether I was playing on grass or turf that day. These days, the guys can play in pretty much gym shoes on the new field turf. 

Getting back to the game, how does it feel to hear “Legend” attached to your name?

Well of course it feel great. [Laughs.] But in all honesty, I just went out and played my best every game. I have had the chance to play with some wonderful players over my life and I am excited that through the game, being on the cover, and the new promotion, that I will be introduced to a new generation of people that really love the game of football. 

Talk about your new commercial with Pepsi Max?

The commercial was fun. I get asked a lot of questions about retirement and this commercial is set were a lot of the speculation happens, in the barbershop. From there, things a little crazy. it was lots of fun and the campaign is pretty cool as well. Like I said earlier, the designer are pretty generous with my abilities, so it is something to go after.

Madden NFL 25 officially hits store shelves on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 and the PEPSI Max  “Unlock a Legend” campaign runs through November 1. For more information about the campaign, be sure to head over to www.pepsimax.com/maddenlegends for details.

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