Barry Sanders’ Sons Are Athletic Like Their Dad—But They Don't All Play Football

barry sanders and son nigel sanders
Meet Barry Sanders' Four SonsPaul Hawthorne - Getty Images
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Back in the ‘90s, Barry Sanders was a huge name in football. The Detroit Lions running back led the NFL in rushing yards four times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. But Barry left professional football behind during what many say was the height of his career, for mysterious reasons.

Now, Barry is retracing his meteoric rise to NFL superstardom and explaining why he stepped away from the spotlight in the new Amazon Prime Video documentary Bye Bye Barry. The doc explores not just Barry’s career as a professional athlete, but also his personal life, which, naturally, raises questions about Barry's family. So, does Barry have kids, and have any of them followed in their dad's steps onto the football field? Here’s what you need to know.

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Barry was married to his wife Lauren Campbell Sanders for 12 years.

The pro athlete married TV anchor Lauren Campbell back in 2000, but the couple divorced in 2012, according to TMZ. Apparently, the divorce was tricky—the two tried mediation and had trouble agreeing on a slew of different things, including custody, parenting time, spousal support, child support, and property. At the time, Lauren was a weekend anchor in WDIV-TV in Detroit, per

barry sanders lauren campbell sanders nigel sanders
(From L to R): Barry Sanders, Nigel Sanders, and Lauren Campbell Sanders at the ESPN The Magazine "NEXT" Party in December 2003.Paul Hawthorne - Getty Images

Barry and Lauren Campbell have four children.

And they’re all sons. Barry is dad to Barry J. Sanders, Nick Sanders, Nigel Sanders, and Noah Sanders.

Do Barry’s sons play football?

Some of Barry’s sons have followed in their dad's cleat-clad footsteps, and they’re getting plenty of buzz. Here’s the deal on each son's athletic career and other personal pursuits:

Barry J. Sanders, 29

Barry J. played football at Stanford and Oklahoma State. Like his dad, Barry J. was a running back. During his senior year in 2015, he earned 315 yards rushing on 51 carries, according to his Stanford bio. These days, he doesn’t play football professionally, but he seems like a big fan of the Detroit Lions:

He also recently attended the premiere of Bye Bye Barry with his dad:

Nigel Sanders, 22

Nigel is athletic like his dad, but doesn’t seem to play on a sports team.

He’s also into music and performs under the stage name Sanjai:

Nigel and Barry both appear to share a love of golf. In July, they did some father-son bonding at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Nicholas Sanders, 19

Nicholas actually plays basketball at Michigan State University, where he plans to major in business, according to his official player bio. He’s a sophomore this year and is 5’10”, his player bio states. Nicholas—who goes by Nick—says his favorite movie is Star Wars, his favorite basketball player is Stephen Curry, and he enjoys playing the piano.

Noah Sanders, 17

High school junior Noah also plays football like his dad—in fact, he's also a running back. And it seems like he may be on the path to a promising professional career as well. He received an offer from Toledo University in September to play college football after having an impressive game where he rushed for 145 yards and scored three touchdowns, according to 247Sports. "It was a surreal moment to find out that I had just received my first offer," he said. "I had been thinking about that day for years and for it to finally come was a dream come true."

Still, Noah is keeping his options open for now. "There are a few other schools have reached out to me, the most notable one being Pittsburgh, who I was thrilled to hear from," Noah told 247Sports. "I don’t have any visits planned out yet, but I definitely am expecting to go to multiple visits this year."

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