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Barry Sanders recently stumbled upon an important box that’s been in storage for years– actually, decades.

The box, according to ESPN, was found in a storage closet in the Detroit Lions’ practice facility in Allen Park, Michigan, and contained roughly 150 fan letters, all addressed to Sanders. Lions employee Brandon Scott found the box in 2018, and now, it’s in the hands of its rightful owner.

“I was surprised,” Sanders told ESPN. “I was thinking, ‘Man, I’m going to have some hate mail in there.’ I mean, because of how I retired. …The first few years of me being retired, there wasn’t much contact between me and the team.

“The fact that some of the mail was lost for that long, yeah, it was a little bit shocking.”

The letters were more than fan mail– dozens and dozens of notes from children writing about their love for Sanders, even after he retired.

“It’s meaningful,” Sanders told the publication. “It just shows what kind of career I was able to have and that I was able to connect with a lot of fans in that way, you know. I’m proud of that. I remember being a fan. I never wrote anyone, but I followed players religiously, so I kind of understand a little bit of that feeling behind the letters. It’s a big honor.”

See a collection of the letters via ESPN here.

Anne Erickson's love for music drew her into radio, and she started shortly after graduating from MSU. She has a passion for rock and metal, plus local music. She also fronts the band Upon Wings. Email Anne at, follow her on Instagram at @EricksonAnne and tweet at her @AnneErickson!