Here’s how close Emmanuel Sanders came to never being a Bronco

Sep 7, 2022, 2:31 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm
Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Eight years and six months ago, Emmanuel Sanders thought he was going to be a Kansas City Chief. So did Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

It happened during Sanders’ whistle-stop tour in his first go-’round as an unrestricted free agent. As the signing period progressed, his path wound toward to Chiefs headquarters near Arrowhead Stadium. He met with team officials, including Reid.

“So, Andy Reid leaves; he thinks I’m signing with the Chiefs,” Sanders said Wednesday as he announced his retirement after a 12-year playing career.

And then the phone call from the 303 area code arrived.

It was the call Sanders truly craved, even as he courted offers from three other teams during the course of his free-agent search.

“All of a sudden, I get to Kansas City, and I knew I wanted to come here, because of Peyton [Manning] and everything that they had. But I [hadn’t received] a call from John Elway,” Sanders recalled. “So, I’m sitting there, in the Kansas City Chiefs’ facility, and I get that call.”

Then it was a matter of extricating himself from Chiefs HQ.

“So I’m there, in their facility, and I remember telling them, ‘I kind of want to just go back to my hotel and figure out the situation,'” Sanders recalled. “I was just trying to get out there so I could go really celebrate, because I’m about to go play with Peyton Freaking Manning. The Sheriff! You know what I mean? So, they wouldn’t let me out of the facility.”

“So, I remember trying to leave, and I remember Andy Reid, I see his car just flying down. He hopped up, like, ‘What is going on?’ I don’t care to go into too many crazy details, but that’s just how close it was, because I was literally sitting in that room, like, ‘I’m about to sign.'”

Indeed, eight years ago, when Sanders held his first press conference after signing with the Broncos, he said, “I guess the Chiefs felt like we had a deal, but we never officially had a deal.

“But the thing is, I was at their facility, so of course, they thought that, ‘Oh, if Emmanuel is here, then he’s going to sign with us,’ but that’s never the case.”

And once the call came in from the Broncos, it wasn’t going to be the case. Even though by that time, Sanders had put the word out among his nearest and dearest that he would be catching passes from then-Chiefs starting QB Alex Smith.

“I remember calling all my family. I told them, ‘I’m about to sign with the Chiefs.’ It didn’t happen. I ended up coming here, which is the best thing ever.”

Sanders got a Super Bowl ring, two Pro Bowls and an eventual contract extension out of it. He found a new home in the Denver area.

And all of it happened because the Broncos called him just in the nick of time eight years ago.



Broncos vs. 49ers...
Cecil Lammey

Three observations from the Broncos win over the 49ers in Week 3

A well-balanced offense and a swarming defense helped Denver record their biggest win in a long time and put them in great position
7 hours ago
Russell Wilson in the huddle...
Cecil Lammey

Mile High Monday: Vintage Wilson arrived just in time on Sunday night

While it wasn't pretty for most of the game, the Broncos quarterback led an 80-yard, game-winning drive that showed he still has it
7 hours ago
Jonas Griffith...
James Merilatt

While the Broncos offense sputters, their defense is in high gear

The struggles of Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson get most of the attention, but Ejiro Evero's defense is already better than Vic Fangio's
7 hours ago
Bradley Chubb...
Andrew Mason

How the Broncos defense is buying the offense time to get right

Russell Wilson is the QB, but today, this team belongs to Bradley Chubb, the "Dirty Dogs" and the "Dark Side" on defense.
7 hours ago
Melvin Gordon Eric Tomlinson...
Will Petersen

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Disgusting wins are still wins for Broncos

Is this defense Super Bowl 50 good? That remains to be seen, but they were excellent on Sunday night and once again the backbone of this team
1 day ago
Denver Broncos...
Jake Shapiro

Postgame Live: Broncos win ugly, beat 49ers in Denver

Rachel Vigil, D-Mac and James Merilatt break down all the storylines from the Denver Broncos 11-10 win over the 49ers
1 day ago
Here’s how close Emmanuel Sanders came to never being a Bronco