his agent may be shooting his mouth off, but Sanders himself seems to be saying all of the right things...
Sanders: "This place is special to me"
Voluntary offseason workouts began on Monday for NFL teams, but on Sunday morning wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders still wasn’t sure where he would be reporting for the first day of the program.
Sanders, a restricted free agent, had signed a one-year contract offer with the New England Patriots last week. The Steelers had five days to match the offer, or lose Sanders to the Patriots in exchange for their third-round draft pick. On Sunday the Steelers choose to match the offer and keep Sanders in black and gold.
“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of confusion, but the end result was good, getting the opportunity to play for the team I wanted to play for, so I am happy,” said Sanders. “It feels really good to be wanted. All of the hard work I put in has paid off.
“Pittsburgh gave me the opportunity when I was just a kid coming out of college so this place is special to me.”
Sanders joined his Steelers’ teammates for the first phase of offseason workouts on Monday, taking part in the conditioning program and getting lots of hugs and high-fives from the guys.
“Being here today was extremely important,” said Sanders. “After the deal came about I wanted to be here working. I wanted to do the right thing. In order for us to win we have to have camaraderie, and for that to happen guys need to be here. This is the first time we can meet and start getting chemistry. For me, the season has officially started.”
After starting only eight games in his first three seasons, Sanders has an opportunity this season to step into a full-time starter role after Mike Wallace departed for the Miami Dolphins via free agency. It’s a role he would relish.
“I just want to come in and make plays,” said Sanders. “I want to stay healthy. This year I want to be a full-time starter. I am looking forward to taking advantage of it. It’s an opportunity I have been waiting for and now that it is here I am working hard so when the ball comes my way I will be able to do what I know I am capable of doing.
“The moment is here, carpe diem. It’s something I relate to a lot. It’s about seizing the moment, seizing the day. It’s something in my heart I want to do, not just for myself, but for Steelers Nation. After all, I am wearing (Lynn Swann’s) No. 88. I remember my rookie year having that conversation about representing No. 88 and I am looking forward to representing it well.”
^ This is what I wanted to hear from him... not I'll play the year out and hit the road like Wallace... and that still could very well happen. The $1M question is will he step up his game and stay healthy? All the locker room malcontents needed to be purged. We don't need a "Young Money Crew", we need a "I'm Young and Hungary Crew"...
HaHa! Freudian slip (or typo) on my part LOL!!! I worked in Hungary for 10 years... for real... fingers type what it thinks the brain is saying LOL... Some tough and genetic specimens over there. They have American Football leagues in Budapest... I watched the famous Tommy Maddox vs Cleveland comeback on TV in Budapest. Steelers FO should do some scouting there... Anyway make that "Young and Hungry Crew"!!!
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
No, I meant the part where we were supposed to believe the word of the agent as to how many teams were interested.
Originally Posted by papillon
Steelers expect 70 catches, 1,000 yards out of Emmanuel Sanders
By SteelCityRoller on May 2 2013
The restricted free-agent put his original team on the spot by signing an offer sheet from an AFC rival. The Steelers matched said offer, but expect the player to live up to his pay increase.
The New England Patriots took their sweet time making an offer to RFA WR Emmanuel Sanders, then the Pittsburgh Steelers took their own sweet time deciding whether to match their offer. However, they wasted no time laying out the conditions which match the pay increase they agreed to.
Sanders spent most of Wednesday appearing across the lineup on ESPN. Most of the questions he entertained encircled the personnel rollover experienced by the Steelers roster this off-season; primarily former teammate Mike Wallace. However, during one answer, Sanders let slip a small piece of the Steelers mindset about his own situation.
Once Wallace became a free agent, Sanders slid up the depth chart by default. Whether he broke training camp as the top dog having yet to be seen, his role was bound to increase. Now, we know how far the team expects it to increase.
"They're expecting 70 catches for 1,000 yards, and that's the same thing that I expect for myself."
Quite a lofty goal for someone who set career best seasonal benchmarks of 44 catches and 626 yards in 2012. Even Wallace as the team's No.1, only had 64 catches and 836 yards; and he did so for about a quarter-million more than Sanders new contract is worth.
Perhaps these goals do not seem unobtainable for Sanders, but they don't seem to be a suggestion from the team. This is what is expected.
Sanders makes no mention as to when the team placed this bar before him, although one can't help but wonder if it came after the Steelers had to match the offer sheet Sanders signed. Were their original expectations for him slightly more realistic for a player who is admittedly the second receiver on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown, knowing he would already be in an increased role anyway?
Both Sanders original RFA tender and his new contract only cover the 2013 season. Afterward, he becomes an unrestricted free-agent. Obviously, the Steelers need to know he is worthy of starting before they offer him a new extension; but to expect those types of numbers from a player whose best season barely surpassed their halfway points is a bit of a stretch.
Maybe Sanders brought the extra requirements upon himself by forcing the Steelers hand into a raise, but one thing is certain -- if Sanders can meet the Steelers demands this year, he will be rewarded with a new contract next season, whether it is offered by Pittsburgh, or someone else.
if he is a BITCCCH how is that the steelers fault??
Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh
I hate to say this but steelers need him this season. With miller being hurt and steelers relying on a rookie to play right away, weapons are limited
Originally Posted by steel50
Was a no Brainer to bring him back.. w/o Sanders you would be possibly talking about Breaking in a new Wideout, a new slot, A new Starting Tight-end (for the first half of the Season) and a new a new starting Running back. And you thought our offense let us down last year.
i agee 100 %
Originally Posted by chiken