Barry Sanders walks on stage during the Detroit Lions' new uniform reveal event inside Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, April 18, 2024. Syndication: Detroit Free Press

It would be an understatement to say that college football fans are fired up about the impending arrival of EA Sports College Football 25. Between that and the ongoing Madden series, it’s a football video game completist’s dream.

However, one thing they won’t be able to do is play as Barry Sanders in either game moving forward.

The Detroit Lions legend announced on Tuesday that he is discontinuing his involvement with EA Sports of using his name, image, and likeness.

“Hey @EASPORTS_MUT @EASPORTS @EAMaddenNFL games & fans….Breaking News. I have decided after many years to discontinue my relationship with the brand & the products,” Sanders wrote on X. “I apologize for those that were expecting me in the games. I leave you with #CyberBarry @Lions @NFL @NFLPA.”

What that means for players is that you won’t be able to include Sanders on their Madden Ultimate Team or in any kind of similar feature that might be included in College Football 25. Not that it was likely, but it also means that Sanders won’t repeat as the cover athlete for any EA Sports game after having been on the cover of EA Sports Madden 25 in 2013.

Sanders isn’t the first player or coach to opt out of being included in a video game (Tecmo Super Bowls’ QB Bills and QB Eagles come to mind). But it does make you wonder if more NFL legends and current players might follow suit if they don’t feel as though they are being compensated fairly for the usage of their likeness.

[Barry Sanders, Freep]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to