Emmanuel Sanders reveals determining factor in his decision to sign with the Saints
A particularly special Saints fan helped encourage Sanders' decision
Emmanuel Sanders reportedly either the Cowboys or the Packers in free agency. But instead of choosing to play with Dak Prescott in Dallas or with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, the veteran receiver opted instead to sign with the Saints, where he will try to win his second Super Bowl ring with quarterback Drew Brees, running back Alvin Kamara, fellow receiver Michael Thomas and Pro Bowl TE, Jared Cook.
Along with the benefits of joining a team with a future Hall of Fame quarterback that is coming off of a 13-3 season, Sanders, a Super Bowl champion with the Broncos who is less than two months removed from nearly winning another ring with the 49ers, recently shared another determinator factor in his decision to sign with the Saints.
"One of the first people I called was my grandma," Sanders told Katherine Terrell of The Athletic, "because she called me, her and my aunt were on the phone when free agency started, and she said, 'We're praying you go to New Orleans!' The Texans, they had an opportunity and needed a receiver, the Cowboys needed one, but my grandma was talking about New Orleans because she loves that team," Sanders said on a conference call Sunday afternoon. "She loves Drew Brees, she loves Sean Payton, she loves the offense and she wanted to watch me play. When I called her and told her she was so excited about it …
"Not only that, she's excited because literally they can drive to the game if they wanted. My family, I don't know how far of a distance it is, but I know last year when (the 49ers beat the Saints in New Orleans in Week 14) I had like 15 family members drive up, so it can't be that long of a drive. So that's pretty cool to be back down south and be close to my family as well."
While he is excited to have more opportunities to play in front of his family, Sanders, who celebrated his 33rd birthday last week, is also looking forward to show that he is still capable of being a highly productive receiver. After suffering an Achilles' tear late in the 2018 season, Sanders, a two-time Pro Bowler during his time in Denver, put up solid numbers in 2019, catching 66 passes for 869 yards and five touchdowns while averaging a full yard per catch more than he did the previous season.
And while he surely wants to contribute in the passing game, Sanders said his main prerogative is doing whatever it takes to help the Saints win. Sanders also said that he has already spoken with Brees, who told him that he is excited to begin working with him while hammering down the nuances of the Saints' offense.
"I'm a player that if you tell me to go block, I'll go block," Sanders said. "If you tell me to run this route, I'm going to run it and I feel like I'll have success in doing it because I put a lot of work in, and I'll stand on my work ethic alone."
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