Emmanuel Sanders has only been on the Broncos for two seasons, but they’ve been the most productive seasons of his six-year NFL career. He collected 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014, and followed that up with 76 receptions for 1,135 yards and six scores this past season. He also had a big play in the Broncos’ playoff-opening win over the Steelers.
The Texas native and former collegiate star has experienced great success for someone listed at just five-foot-eleven inches and 180 pounds, considered small for an NFL wide receiver. Sanders, 28, is a family man as well as the consummate professional athlete.
Here is everything you need to know about the Denver Broncos wide receiver.
1. He Has Playoff Appearances for Both the Steelers and Broncos, But Has Not Scored
Emmanuel Sanders, a six-year NFL veteran wide receiver, has had some shining moments in his career already. Entering Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Sanders had played in six postseason contests (four with Pittsburgh, two with Denver). In his rookie year, 2010, Sanders and the Steelers advanced all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the Packers.
Though Sanders has never caught a touchdown in the postseason in his career, he had the biggest game of his postseason career against his former team in this year’s Divisional playoff game, catching five balls for 85 yards, including a memorable reception in the fourth quarter after Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had slid to the ground, popped up and fired the ball to Sanders for a 34-yard gain:
2. Sanders Played for the Steelers for 4 Years To Begin His NFL Career
Emmanuel Sanders was drafted in the third round, 82nd overall by the Pittburgh Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft, the same team the Broncos beat in the Divisional round of the 2015 playoffs. Sanders played his first four seasons with the Steelers, improving every year up until 2013, his final year with Pittsburgh, in which he put up (at the time) career highs of 67 yards for 740 yards and six touchdowns.
Sanders left in the offseason, signing with Denver prior to the 2014 season for three-years and $15 million, $6 million of which was guaranteed. Sanders will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
3. Sanders Played College Football at Southern Methodist University
Sanders played his college football for the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. He played at SMU for four years, during the 2006 through 2009 seasons. His 2009 senior season was a banner one for both Sanders and the Mustangs. Sanders was first in Conference USA in both receiving yards (1,339) and punt returns for touchdown (1).
SMU had done 1-11 the prior two years, but in the ’09 campaign the Mustangs (8-5) got their most wins since 1984. The Mustangs faced the Nevada Wolf Pack in that season’s Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which SMU won big, 45-10. Sanders had seven catches for 124 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown catch, in the game. He finished his career as SMU’s career leader in receptions, touchdown catches and yards.
4. Sanders is Engaged to Gabriella Waheed
Emmanuel Sanders’ fiancee, Gabriella Waheed, grew up in Long Island in the town of Commack. She moved to New York City after high school and attended Marymount Manhattan College, according to her Facebook profile. She is currently involved in various television and film production projects.
5. Sanders Grew Up in Belleville, Texas
Emmanuel was born and raised in Bellville, Texas. Bellville is a city in and the county seat of Austin County, Texas, in the southeastern part of the state. It was there that Sanders attended Bellville High School.
At Bellville High, Emmanuel was a mega-star four-sport athlete. He starred in football, basketball, baseball, and track. Following his senior year, Emmanuel was named a First-Team All-District running back, wide receiver, and safety, as well as the team’s Most Valuable Player and Tri-County Offensive Player of the Year.