Detroit Lions icon Barry Sanders on hand to open restaurant in downtown Detroit

DETROIT — Lions legend Barry Sanders made defenders look ridiculous with his jukes.

Now, at 54, the remnants of his Pro Football Hall of Fame career are on display in downtown Motor City.

Sanders was on hand Tuesday for the grand opening of Barry Sanders’ Lefty’s Cheesesteak restaurant, located minutes from Ford Field, home of the Lions.

The restaurant commemorates its new co-owner with unique memorabilia, which includes rare photos and an autographed jersey on the wall as well as highlights from Sanders’ high school, college and professional career on a mounted television screen.

There’s also a giant mural of him with action shots from his years playing Lions as well as his number 20.

“Again, for me, it’s just about trying to capitalize on what I was able to do in Detroit and take the big opportunity and really be a part of what’s happening here in Detroit,” Sanders told ESPN. “Just to see transformation, that’s a common word you hear and how far we’ve come over the last five to 10 years, so really being a part of that was important. And so, that’s one of the big reasons why we are here in the middle of everything.”

Sanders is a brand ambassador for the restaurant, which has multiple locations in the Detroit metro area. The idea of ​​creating his own custom building was pitched by Lefty owner and founder Sam Berry, who grew up with Sanders and the Lions.

“I always do everything for the city. I was born and raised here in Detroit, Michigan,” Berry said. “Barry Sanders is a legend, and we’re trying to expand our footprint in the country. We still want to be recognized as a Detroit-based company.”

On the eve of the team’s debut on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” Sanders also returned to the Lions’ Allen Park training facility for a visit on Monday, and he continues to root for his old franchise as she attempts to regain relevance under coach Dan Campbell.

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