Barry Sanders, the prolific ex-NFL running back, will help promote Nissan's all-new Pathfinder concept next week at the North American International Auto Show. Nissan

Barry Sanders, the former Detroit Lions running back who has shied away from the media spotlight since stunning the NFL world by retiring in 1999, will meet with the media next week in Detroit to promote Nissan's ventures at the 2012 North American International Auto Show.

Sanders will appear at a closed event at a downtown Detroit restaurant next Monday for a BCS Championship Game viewing party. That comes after Nissan introduces a highly anticipated Pathfinder SUV or crossover concept around 11 a.m. Monday, as well as a commercial van.

The game starts at 8:30, but come early to grab a good seat, Sanders said in a video sent out to reporters covering the Detroit auto show. We promise great food, beverages and football. Does it get any better than that? See you there.

Nissan, similar to Sanders, is also returning to the media spotlight in Detroit next week. The Japanese automaker has taken a two-year hiatus from the show and hasn't participated since 2008.

Nissan has released a teaser photo of the Pathfinder concept, which fades into a black background but gives the look of a crossover or SUV vehicle. This will be the first redesign for the Pathfinder series since 2005.

It's going to be an all-new vehicle, Nissan spokesman Steve Yaeger told the International Business Times in a phone interview in December. It's a new concept altogether. We're really looking forward to it. It was time. It was time for more than a refresh. This vehicle is not going to bear a lot of resemblance to the previous vehicle.

Analysts said the redesign is long overdue, and it gives the feel of a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That's a contrast from the boxy style that has led to decreased sales since 2008.

Sanders joins Nissan as part of the automaker's partnership with the Heisman Trophy Trust. Nissan is also a partner of the Bowl Championship Series. The BCS Championship Game will take place Monday night between Louisiana State and Alabama, which Sanders will watch with the attendees.

Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in 1988, when he averaged 7.6 yards per carry and an astounding 237.5 rushing yards per game. He surprised the NFL world by retiring abruptly at the age of 31, and he still stands as the third most prolific rusher in NFL history.