Bobby Ross, a former Detroit Lions head coach, spoke at an awards dinner earlier this week and had a couple of interesting things to say about Barry Sanders. Sanders retired when Ross was the head coach, so you can imagine that it must have stung to lose your team's best player. Either way, some of the things said by Ross really would have been better off kept in his own mind or at least in private as it just didn't come off well in my opinion.
Ross, 71, speaking at Beyond the Scoreboard Champions of Character Awards Dinner Tuesday at the Emmet County Fairgrounds Community Building, praised Sanders' ability and work ethic on the field, however, "I don't know if Barry really loved the game, but he worked hard at it," Ross said. "He did what he was supposed to do. I always wanted him to be a leader, but he didn't really want that role.
"He was the only player I ever coached that whenever he touched the ball, you thought he would run for a touchdown."
Although Ross did compliment Sanders in the last part of the above quote, questioning his love of the game and leadership in a public setting just isn't right. Retiring as early as Sanders did does make you wonder about how much he wanted to play football, but even so, look at the team he was playing for. If he had a better offensive line and a better franchise to play for, then he likely wouldn't have retired as early as he did. Regardless, Ross should have kept his thoughts to himself.