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Everything Barry Sanders said after statue unveiling

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Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders (right) received his statue at OSU's football game.

How do you feel the statue captured your essence? 

"Oh yeah, it’s a great action shot. I could see the young Barry doing that."

Is there any part of you that maybe thinks it should have been the Colorado dive or any other play, or do you like the pose?

"Well, I think, fortunately for me, there’s a couple good shots to choose from. So you can only choose one but if they want to choose another (pose), put another (statue) up somewhere else knock yourself out."

How does the culture you experienced in your time as an athlete compare to the culture all these years later?

"Oh, It’s hard for me to speak to that. There’s still just a great excitement and it is such a great college football atmosphere and I know for me I was just very comfortable here as a student athlete. Loved the community and it was really hard for me to leave. So, in that sense there’s some similarities. The differences I really don’t know. Obviously its 30-something years later and a lot of things have changed, stadium looks a lot nicer."

What has it been like for you to get to know the running backs who are on the team now?

"You know I enjoyed talking to them a little bit. Telling them how those moments like the night before a game for me are special memories, just the butterflies and the tension and playing over the game in your mind. It almost made me feel like back in that setting so I enjoyed it."

What are the memories and things that do come back to mind?

"Well, things like my dad dropping me off here in the summer of ‘86 and just the excitement of having the opportunity to play Big 8 college football. Practicing with guys like Thurman Thomas, Mark Moore, Mike Gundy. For me it was just step-by-step progression, like they said earlier, no one knew who I was when I got here, I was just excited to be here. Going from that to being an All-American kick returner as a sophomore and thinking ‘Man, I don’t know if it can get any better than this.’"

"As a sophomore in the opening game of the season running it back for a touchdown and then my junior year running it back for a touchdown. Just things like that and obviously the Heisman Trophy year and even after winning the Heisman I wasn’t sure I was going to leave here and my dad really had to give me some choice words to say ‘No son, you got to get out of here. You got to leave.’ So, a lot of things like that."

When you stepped foot on campus as a freshman could you ever have imagined you would have a statue right outside the stadium?

"No, no I couldn’t. Like I said I was just thrilled to be here. Thrilled someone gave me a scholarship. I knew a little bit about Oklahoma State, I knew they had Thurman Thomas here, things like Rusty Hilger played for my favorite childhood team, the Raiders and I had heard of Earnest Anderson and Terry Miller just little things like that. But never in anyone’s wildest dreams would they have thought at some point I would have a statue here."

What were you feeling seeing the statue?

"Just the overall excitement and thrill of what the honor means. Hopefully my agent didn’t bug these guys too much over the years to do this, but what an awesome privilege and honor it is and something that I’ll continue to be able to appreciate. And then they broke out with the trophy-sized one that’s like ‘Wow, that’s even more amazing’ something I can actually take home."

Where is that going home? 

"I’ll find a good special place. I may have to have a little tug of war with my mom, cause she has my Heisman, and my dad he wouldn’t let the Heisman out of his sight when he was alive. Maybe at some point I can like sneak it out of their house, but so yeah me and mom will have to figure out who actually gets this one."

Do you enjoy the spotlight more now than in year's past? Do you take it in differently than when you were playing?

"Yeah, I think so. I can appreciate it more. I think with a little practice, if you think about where I’m from the era I grew up in you didn’t see very many athletes talking on TV. It wasn’t something really part of my formative years and so I was certainly a little clumsy with it, didn’t really know how to handle it earlier and so yeah. But it’s so much a part of what we do, it’s grown exponentially and so really it’s a major part of it."

sports.ed@ocolly.com