Sanders, Barney, Sims to be honored Thursday

Three of the Lions' all-time great players who wore the number 20 -- cornerback Lem Barney, running back Billy Sims and running back Barry Sanders -- will be honored before the Thanksgiving Day game against Indianapolis at Ford Field.

(ALLEN PARK) -- Three of the Lions' all-time great players who wore the number 20 -- cornerback Lem Barney, running back Billy Sims and running back Barry Sanders -- will be honored before the Thanksgiving Day game against Indianapolis at Ford Field.

The highlight of the festivities -- part of which will be included on the CBS pregame show -- will be Sanders receiving his Hall of Fame ring, commemorating his induction last August.

The other highlight will be the taking-out-of-circulation of the number 20. The Lions say they are not officially retiring the number, but it hasn't been used since Sanders retired shortly before the 1999 season and, barring unforeseen developments, will not be used again.

The Lions realized recently than none of the three players actually realized his last game would be his real last game until it was all over. Barney finished his career on the injured reserve list in 1978, Sims was unable to complete a comeback from a knee injury suffered midway in the 1984 season and Sanders has said he did not make his final retirement decision until it was time to report to camp in 1999.

The Lions want to give their sellout crowd a chance to show its appreciation to the three athletes and give them the chance to enjoy the adulation one last time.

Sanders and Barney are both Hall of Famers; many feel Sims also would have made the Hall had it not been for the knee injury in his fifth season.

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