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Don't you honestly believe that Barry Sanders' wife Lauren Campbell-Sanders had something to do with the early retirement of the most dynamic running back I've ever had the privilege of watching?
I know, I know,... after surprising the world by faxing his retirement to his hometown newspaper, he's since admitted that he was exhausted with the Lions culture of losing. I get that. But doesn't it seem like Lauren Sanders could have been in his ear? After his July, 99 retirement, Barry and Lauren Sanders were married just a year later in 2000. Lauren Sanders is certainly a woman who exerts a certain level of power and authority, serving as a news anchor for WDIV in Detroit, so isn't it at least feasible that she planted the bug in his ear? Shortly after their wedding, the couple began having children, with three sons, Nigel, Nicholas and Noah all born within a short five year period of time. Barry does have one other child from a previous relationship, Barry J. Sanders; who like his father parlayed a successful high school rushing career into a lucrative college scholarship, with Barry Jr. committing to Stanford starting in 2012.
We'll never know how much influence Lauren Sanders did or didn't have on the abrupt retirement,... and it's pretty certain we never will. Why? Because Lauren Campbell Sanders is now Barry Sanders ex-wife. In 2012, the couple filed for divorce, which set off a messy set of squabbling over major issues. The couple was forced into mediation to help sort out the issues including custody, parenting time, spousal and child support, as well as property.
It appears that having her name splashed across TMZ wasn't the easiest thing to cope with as a serious news anchor. According to Lauren's WDIV Biography: "After anchoring the weekend morning newscast for several years, Lauren took a hiatus from the news to focus fully on family life." As of posting in January, 2014, it does appear that she's back on the air in her usual Weekend Morning hosting gig.
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Nate Burleson is a relatively quiet #2 wideout on a high octane offense. It's kind of surprising when you think about the numbers he puts up in Detroit, but few people outside the Motor City really knew much about him. Burleson clearly has a marketing mind, as he knew that a simple car crash while reaching for a slice of pizza was one way to put his name into the national landscape. Since the infamous pizza accident, and now moreso upon his return, he's on a quite a few more minds, so let's find out more about the next obvious topic: Nate Burleson's wife Atoya Burleson.
Nate and Atoya Burleson have been together since college, at the University of Nevada. As we've seen time and time again, Atoya was a fellow student athlete, on the track team. The couple was engaged during Nate's rookie season in Minnesota and have been together since. They now have three children, Nathaniel and Nehemiah and a daughter Mia.
The couple has founded the C.A.T.C.H. Foundation, whose mission statement is "to reach and teach children and their families by providing them with educational tools to succeed as well as enriching their lives by showing them how to care for others, themselves and their future." The foundation hosts various events throughout the year, including football camps, and an annual softball game.
Let's finish back on the pizza. Nate has kept a great sense of humor about the whole event. Following the wreck, Burleson recalled his reaction to MLive.com:
What's funny is, my wife went to go take pictures of the car, and she said there was pizza all over the bottom floorboard of the passenger seat. Told her she should have brought it home.
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The biggest part of our job at PlayerWives.com is research. Because of this, we have a number of Google Alerts sent to our inbox alerting us about news of any athlete we haven't covered. Today's email came as a bit of a shock with the subject line reading:
"Ndamukong Suh dating Lolo Jones."
Yes, it would certainly appear that Lions D-Tackle Ndamukong Suh's girlfriend is Lolo Jones. And while this seems the same, it seems even crazier for us to report that Lolo Jones' boyfriend is Ndamukong Suh. Something just strange there.
Personal feelings aside, reports out of Detroit indicate that the two met a few months ago, and may have been dating as early as April of this year. At that time, Suh was seen attending the Drake Relays in Iowa to root on Jones, though both parties downplayed any talk of a relationship at that time. Talk of the relationship began to swirl again after Jones was invited to the Lions season opener as a guest of Suh. According to MediaTakeOut who first broke the story, the couple appears to have gotten somewhat serious. Both Suh and Jones are very religious, and Suh is described as "respectful," in their report.
There are plenty of jokes to be made here, either about stomping, virgins, or possibly a combination of the two,... but we'll leave that to some of the hackier blogs out there. For now we'll just keep an eye on things to see if this develops. While our original shock hasn't entirely worn off, things actually aren't quite as impossible to believe as once saw. Good luck to these two, and we'll keep you posted.