Sanders with the Denver Broncos in 2014
|No. 10 – Denver Broncos|
March 17, 1987 |
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school:||Bellville (TX)|
|NFL Draft:||2010 / Round: 3 / Pick: 82|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 10, 2017|
Emmanuel Niamiah Sanders (born March 17, 1987) is an American football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at SMU, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Sanders attended Bellville High School in Bellville, Texas, where he was a four-sport star in football, basketball, baseball, and track. In football, in which he was most notable, Sanders was a first-team All-District performer at running back, wide receiver, and safety. As a senior, he rushed for 499 yards with six touchdowns, hauled in 24 catches for 414 yards and a score while also throwing for a touchdown. On defense, he recorded 49 tackles and three interceptions. He was named Team MVP and Tri-County Offensive Player of the Year following his senior season. In all, he earned seven All-District honors during his high school career. Regarded only as a two-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, Sanders chose SMU over scholarship offers from TCU, Kansas, Baylor, and Houston.
After graduating from high school, Sanders was a three-year starter at Southern Methodist University. He was awarded All-Conference honors his final two seasons. As a sophomore, Sanders had 74 receptions for 889 yards and nine touchdowns. As a junior, he had 67 receptions for 958 yards and nine touchdowns. As a senior, he had 98 receptions for 1,339 and seven touchdowns. In addition, he averaged 13.8 yards on 20 punt returns with an additional score.
|Ht||Wt||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad|
|5 ft 11 in
|4.41 s||4.10 s||6.60 s||39.5 in
|8 ft 6 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Despite being fourth on the Steelers' team depth chart for much of the 2010 season, Sanders still managed to finish off his rookie year with 28 receptions for 376 yards and two touchdowns. Sanders and the Steelers would reach the Super Bowl after they beat the New York Jets 24–19 in the AFC Championship game. In Super Bowl XLV, Sanders had two catches for 17 yards, but left the game in the second quarter with a foot injury. The Steelers lost 31–25 to the Green Bay Packers.
In 2011, Sanders became an integral part of the receiving corps on the team along with teammates Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. The three players developed a nickname for themselves known collectively as the "Young Money Family" or "Young Money Crew," inspired by rapper Lil Wayne. Within the group, Sanders was sometimes referred to as "Easy Money" since his first initial is "E." The wide receiver trio also dubbed the nickname "Bugatti Boys" for themselves, also after a rap group.
In 2012, Sanders was instructed to meet with league officials for falling to the turf with an alleged leg cramp during the Steelers' win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7; Pittsburgh could have used a timeout, but did not due to Sanders' "injury". On November 9, 2012, the league fined Sanders $15,000 and the Steelers $35,000 for the incident. NFL VP of Operations Ray Anderson used video evidence of Sanders out-sprinting his teammates, just one play after sitting out from his injury, as proof that the injury was fake. This is the first time in league history a player has been fined for faking an injury.
On April 10, 2013, the New England Patriots signed Sanders to an offer sheet that the Steelers had five days to match. On Sunday, April 14, the Steelers matched the offer sheet, meaning Sanders would stay with the team for the 2013 season.
Sanders agreed on terms to sign as a free agent with the Denver Broncos on March 15, 2014. The next day, after it was announced the contract was for $15 million for three years, executives representing the Kansas City Chiefs complained that Sanders's agent, Steve Weinberg, had accepted a deal with the Chiefs in principle.
In his debut as a member of the Denver Broncos, Sanders recorded six receptions for 77 yards in a 31–24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Sanders caught his first touchdown pass as a Bronco in a 42–17 win over the San Francisco 49ers on October 19, 2014, a game that also saw Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning become the all-time leader in career passing touchdowns. In the Broncos next contest, a 35–21 win over AFC West rivals San Diego Chargers, Sanders caught 9 passes for 120 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Sanders finished the 2014 season with a career-high in catches, yards, and touchdowns. He had 101 catches, 1,404 yards, and 9 touchdowns. As a result of his successful 2014 season, Sanders made his first career Pro Bowl.
On December 20, 2015, Sanders had 10 catches and a career-high 181 yards for a touchdown in a 34-27 loss to his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sanders finished the 2015 season with 76 catches, 1,135 yards, and six touchdowns. The Broncos finished 12-4 and earned the #1 seed for the AFC playoffs. The Broncos defeated the Steelers and Patriots to reach Super Bowl 50, where they defeated the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24–10. Sanders was the leading receiver in the Super Bowl with six catches for 83 yards. He was ranked 74th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.
On September 7, 2016, Sanders signed a three-year contract extension with the Broncos. In the 2016 season, Sanders recorded his third career and consecutive 1,000 receiving yards season, all with the Broncos.
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