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Barry Sanders was the first player to appear on a Madden cover. Before the release of the game, Sanders announced his retirement from professional football only two years after renewing his contract with the Detroit Lions. A court ruling forced Sanders to pay back his signing bonus of $5.5 million plus interest for being in default of his agreement.
Since the year 2000, ten Football greats have graced the covers of the Madden NFL video game series. Each has suffered a professional set-back; in some cases permanently ending their careers. Is this string of events mere coincidence or a curse? Perhaps only John Madden knows for sure.