Having one of the best personalities on and off the field, another former Denver Bronco is headed to national TV.
Former Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be joining NFL Network as it was announced today.
Sanders will make his debut this Sunday on “NFL Gameday Morning” at 9 a.m. ET. The former Super Bowl 50 champion will not only appear regularly on Sundays, but he’ll appear on other various programs for NFL Network such as Super Bowl events and smaller appearances like NFL podcasts.
Sanders made the news official on Twitter saying, “In this next chapter, I’m taking my talents to TV! I’m excited to take what I have learned on the field & be able to provide my insight & opinions in a fun/professional environment. I’ll be making my debut on @nflnetwork GameDay Morning, Sunday at 9:00 AM ET.”
Sanders will now be joining the Broncos media family with the likes of Peyton Manning, Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis, Mark Schlereth, Tim Tebow, Domonique Foxworth, and Tom Jackson who have been seen on national TV the most consistently in recent years.
Playing for the Broncos
Sanders signed with Denver in 2014, just months after the Broncos lost in the Super Bowl of 2014 to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
In his first season in Denver, Sanders started in all 16 regular season games and caught 101 passes from Manning. Sanders would total up his first 1,000-yard season with 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns.
Not only did Sanders have an amazing season, he helped open the passing game for his teammate, Demaryius Thomas. Manning was able to connect with Thomas 111 times for 1,1619 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Even though Manning struggled in a new offense during the 2015 season, Sanders still had 1,135 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
As the Broncos held onto the first-seed in the playoffs, Denver would host the Steelers and Patriots before taking on the Panthers in the 2016 Super Bowl. During those playoffs, Sanders became the top target for Manning as the former SMU receiver totaled up 230 yards on 16 catches.
“One of my favorite times in that 2015 run was really the confetti with me and DT [Demaryius Thomas]. I was like man we got to go play in the confetti.” Sanders added during his retirement press conference, “We just both dove into the confetti after beating the Patriots going to the Super Bowl.”
In the Super Bowl of 2016, Sanders led the team in receiving catching eight passes for 83 yards. Because Denver relied so much on their defense in that game, Manning just needed Sanders to make plays at the right time to keep the clock moving as well as the chains. The Broncos would defeat the Panthers 24-10 and bring home their third Lombardi Trophy.
Once Manning rode off into the sunset, Sanders was catching passes from Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, and Joe Flacco. During that time span of average quarterback play, Sanders totaled up 2,822 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns in those three and a half seasons for Denver.
Sanders then signed a one-day contract with the Broncos back on September 7, 2022 to announce his retirement.
Denver Needs to Find Themselves Another Sanders
Since the two-time Pro Bowl receiver was traded from the Broncos, Denver has tried to find a wide receiver to replace him. So far there’s been hope, but no treasure.
The Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton back in 2018, but he was there to replace Thomas and lineup opposite of Sanders. In fact, Sutton is the only 1,000-yard receiver Denver has had since he’s been drafted.
Former general manager John Elway, drafted Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in the first two rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. There was thought that one of them could be the replacement for Sanders.
Instead, all three wide receivers have battled injuries over recent years with Sutton and Hamler both tearing their ACLs and Jeudy dealing with ankle injuries. Since 2020, none of the three wide receivers have even touched 900 yards receiving.
Tim Patrick has been the best and most consistent replacement for Sanders going for over 700 yards during the past two seasons. Hoping for a big season in 2022, Patrick’s season was over before it even started. Patrick tore his ACL during the early days of training camp forcing him to miss the entire 2022 season.
This year, Sutton has looked great as the No. 1 receiver for Wilson, but Denver needs more help. Jerry Jeudy caught a touchdown in the first game against Seattle and has 113 yards on the season, but is now battling a rib and shoulder injury. Jeudy is questionable this week against the San Francisco 49ers.
Hamler on the other hand is supposed to be fully recovered from his ACL injury, but doesn’t have a catch on the season after playing in Seattle. Sitting out last game against the Houston Texans, Hamler was limited in practice today with a knee and hip injury.
With Wilson slinging the rock for the orange and blue this season, the Broncos should see a 1,000-yard receiver. Denver also needs somebody else to step up and be “Mr. Reliable”, just like Sanders was for nearly six years.