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Two decades since he retired, Barry Sanders still finds himself exhilarated in December as the Lions are trying to wiggle their way into the playoffs. We also get his thoughts on the failed implosion of the Pontiac Silverdome and his alma mater's in-state rival celebrating another Heisman Trophy winner (Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield). Speaking of the state of Oklahoma, could an NFL team soon make its way to Oklahoma City? Sanders thinks its doable.

ThePostGame: Big win for the Lions on Saturday. Do you think this team has a legitimate chance to make the playoffs this year?
BARRY SANDERS: Certainly. We're right in the middle of it at 8-6. It looks like the Vikings are pretty much in control of first place and then after that, it looks like it's going to be a dog fight between us, Seattle, Dallas and I'm leaving someone else out, but certainly, we're right in the middle of that wild card hunt.

TPG: One team you're leaving out is the Green Bay Packers, believe it or not.
SANDERS: Right. How could I forget? With Aaron Rodgers coming back today, it looks like they were winning a minute ago against the Panthers. That one is obviously a big game. That's a huge game in our division and in our conference.

The Packers ended up losing to the Panthers. One team Sanders could have mentioned is the Falcons.

TPG: Obviously, you were never a quarterback who broke your collarbone, but when you see that Aaron Rodgers is coming back right now, in this modern day of injuries, how wild is it that a quarterback is able to make it back from a right collarbone injury in such a short period of time?
SANDERS: It says a lot because when it first happened it sounded like they were writing him off for the remainder of the season. I don't wish ill on anyone, but I can't say I was all that disappointed from our standpoint. But it's amazing to see him come back already, it really is. It says a lot about him, and his will, and preparation and desire, and modern medicine and everything else. But he's a great player and you like to see him out there, but certainly, from a Lions' standpoint, I wasn't terribly disappointed that it looked like he was going to miss the remainder of the season.

TPG: Your old Lions' home was supposed to be gone by now, the Silverdome. Were you watching that failed implosion? Where were you when that happened?
SANDERS: I heard about it. I was not there. I did not see it, I heard it was quite a spectacle or I guess it was pretty uneventful. But yeah, it's kind of sad to see it go because we have a lot of many great memories.

TPG: If you want to take a few more carries, you could probably walk over there. I don't know how safe it is, but you could probably go in there and get a couple handoffs. In terms of the memories, that was your home field for so long, is it tough to see something like that go? Are you mentally prepared for that?
SANDERS: I think it's just how things are and the way things happen. I guess most of us have kind of moved on. The new stadium everyone loves is Ford Field. The Silverdome, we had our day there and it saw some great days, so like I said, a lot of great memories. They have other plans for that area: Malls and condos and whatever else they're going to build, but I think for me, I've set my peace and I'm okay with the fact that it's getting demolished.

TPG: What other stadium, other than the Silverdome, did you enjoy playing in the most?
SANDERS: Probably Tampa Bay just because it was always nice to come from Detroit to Tampa and play there on a nice, lush, natural grass stadium. It was always sunny and I normally always had a pretty good game there.

Barry Sanders

TPG: Do you live in Detroit or Oklahoma City now?
SANDERS:  I live in Michigan. I get back to Oklahoma City a couple times a year.

TPG: I don't know if you ever imagined, when you were in college, that Oklahoma City would eventually have an NBA team, which it does now. Do you think that city could have an NFL team one day?
SANDERS: Good question. I mean the city has come a long way when you look at what has happened and just the development of the downtown corridor with retail and condos. Obviously, we initially had the New Orleans team there, and then the Thunder came after that. The way that the city accepted and received the displaced New Orleans team from Katrina, an NBA team, I think that was very well-received. They are humungous sports fans there. Back in the day, they did have the USFL team, the Tulsa Wranglers or something like that, with guys like Doug Williams, they had some good players that played for that team. My point is that it's definitely a fanatic sports town and just looking at how they received the Thunder, the short few years the Thunder have been there. Yeah, they probably could handle it. I don't know population-wise what the NFL is looking for, but of your mid to small towns that have NFL teams, Oklahoma City would definitely be a good choice.

TPG: Is it almost too big of a college football town to be an NFL city?
SANDERS: There is that aspect of it where you certainly have the college football fans there and that's almost perceived as their NFL team. But, I don't know, it probably could work.

TPG: With the Heisman vote, I don't know what you can share. I know you get a vote. A guy from Oklahoma, not Oklahoma State, won. Was it tough to put Baker Mayfield on your ballot or you don't worry about that stuff, in terms of loyalties?
SANDERS: (Laughs) No look, he's well-deserving. He pretty much stood head and shoulders above every other player this year and I'm happy for him. The Sooners have a rich tradition of great football players, and Heisman Trophy winners. I tip my hat off to him and give him a lot of credit.

TPG: They have six winners and Oklahoma State only has one. So the Cowboys have to get on that. What are you doing today in Miami with DraftKings?
SANDERS: I'm here at the DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship. We have guys from all over the world.  I guess it's about 150 or so guys, who are hoping to win $2 million, guys who are competing for the opportunity of winning $2 million. It's just a great way for fans to really engage in their favorite sport and that's what we're here doing. We're going to be here all day watching games and paying close attention to our favorite players and see how this thing falls out.

TPG: Do you play any fantasy football, Barry?
SANDERS: I don't personally, but I know tons of people that do. I'm always listening to my sons go back forth on what different players are doing and stuff like that.

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