England, Colo. – With a job as a television analyst looking forward to moving on to the next stage of his life, 35-year-old wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders formally announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday.
Sanders, who spent most of his 12 NFL seasons in Denver, was on the Broncos campus with his family to make the announcement. He finished his career last season with 13 starts with the Buffalo Bills.
A third-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 draft, Sanders finished his career with 704 receptions, 9,245 yards and 51 touchdowns. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, played in three Super Bowls and was part of the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 winning team.
“I’m proud to stand here and tell you that I chased this dream and it was one hell of a ride,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he had “reached out to some teams to play this season”, but ultimately added that his long-term health concerns, as well as the death of longtime friend Demerius Thomas last December, were involved in his decision. Was. Sanders said he was not ready to make a formal announcement Wednesday about his near future, but said he had agreed to a deal to become a television analyst.
“The game of football is hard on the body, and I’ve lost a close friend [in Thomas],'” Sanders said. “… I’ve had a heck of a career. I’ve been to three Super Bowls. For me, what else do I have to prove?”
All of Sanders’ 1,000-yard season came with the Broncos, with Peyton Manning in two quarterbacks. Sanders was part of the Broncos 2014 free-agency binge that also featured linebacker DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aaqib Talib and safety TJ Ward.
At the time, he called Denver “wide receiver heaven” due to Manning’s arrival in 2012. On Wednesday, Sanders revealed how close he was to signing with the Kansas City Chiefs—instead of Denver—in 2014—he was at the Chiefs complex. That’s when Broncos general manager John Elway called—and wasn’t playing with Manning.
“I wanted to sign three years [in Kansas City] And they wanted me to sign four,'” Sanders said. “… I get a call, at the facility, that I can move to Denver … and I remember telling [the Chiefs] I want to go back to my hotel and figure out the situation… I was trying to get out there so I can celebrate that I’m going to play Peyton.”
The Broncos traded Sanders to the San Francisco 49ers after seven games in the 2019 season, the same year he Manning portrayed the Broncos’ subsequent struggles as “living in a sucking world.” Sanders then played 2020 with New Orleans. He had 42 receptions for 626 yards before the Saints and four touchdowns for the Bills last season.