Sanders was one of the Lions' all-time greats. As a tight end, he played for the team from 1968-77 after being a third-round pick out of Minnesota, and he made the Pro Bowl seven times over the course of his career. He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2007 class, and he continued to be heavily involved with the Lions long after his playing days were over. From the team's official site:
Overall, Sanders has spent 40 years affiliated with the Detroit Lions organization, including 10 years as a player (1968-77), seven as a broadcaster (1983-88, 1997), eight as a coach (1989-96) and the last 15 as a player personnel scout (1998-13).
After eight years on the Lions’ coaching staff (tight ends in 1989-90 and wide receivers in 1991-96), Sanders spent the 1997 season as a radio broadcaster on the team’s flagship station, WXYT. That assignment added to a radio broadcast resume that includes time as the club’s color commentator from 1983-88.
His foundation started the Have a Heart Save a Life campaign raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide healthy heart checks for young athletes.
Lives have been saved.
Lives will be saved.
Rest in peace, Charlie Sanders.