Emmanuel Sanders on Ben Roethlisberger: “That bridge was burnt”

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49ers receiver Emmanuel Sanders is scheduled to become a free agent in March. One thing seems certain about his uncertain future: There is zero chance he returns to Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger still the Steelers quarterback.

“I would love that, but me and Ben don’t have the best relationship. I believe that bridge is burnt,” Sanders told Ed Bouchette of TheAthletic.com.

Sanders spent his first four seasons with the Steelers after they made him a third-round choice in 2010, and he made 161 catches for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns. He earned his first Pro Bowl the following season, in his first season in Denver.

Sanders blew up the bridge with his former quarterback in his first training camp with the Broncos when he said Peyton Manning was a “far better leader” than Roethlisberger. That and Sanders’ additional statement that “this is the first time that I had a quarterback that stays every single day after practice” prompted even Antonio Brown to jump to Roethlisberger’s defense.

Today, Sanders stands behind what he said almost six years ago. He meant every word.

But Sanders also said “Ben grew up a lot” since then.

“When I first got to Pittsburgh, Ben was still like a little bit of [a jerk] and a lot of people didn’t know that,” Sanders told Bouchette. “That was in 2010. Ben has grown up a lot, you know? He was still like a [jerk]. I had to deal with him for like two years as a rookie with him being [a jerk], you know. I said who the [heck] is this dude? So I grew to not like him but just to deal with him. But from what I’ve heard, he’s grown up a lot, which is good because I’ve grown up, too.”

34 responses to “Emmanuel Sanders on Ben Roethlisberger: “That bridge was burnt”

  1. Wow. What is it with Steelers offensive skill players being nothing but resentful toward the guy who made them stars?

    Roethlisberger won two Super Bowls before Brown, Bell, and Sanders came along. They generated stats, but how many more trophies did these guys bring to the team?

    “which is good because I’ve grown up, too” – this does not support your claim.

  2. Come to NE when the season is over start fresh and play with a legend.

    Then you can say that you caught passes from 2 first ballot hall of fame QB’s

    Big Ben isn’t in the same class as those two…..

  3. The Steelers haven’t been in the Big game in a decade (which they lost). What they have done in the last decade? Lost to Tim Tebow and Blake Bortles and choked away a playoff spot the past two years down the stretch just to name a few. They had the best RB and WR bail on the organization (what does that say?) Who would want to go there?

  4. Sanders has always displayed a special kind of leadership. He bolted for Denver. Won a Superbowl. When things got tough his production drops, he threw tantrums and wanted out. Once he got his wish, his production improved significantly.

  5. “choked away a playoff spot the past two years down the stretch”

    Clearly not paying attention. He was injured in week 2 and didn’t play the rest of the season.

  6. Steelers won’t win 5 games next year, three bad QBs
    ————————————————————-

    You should take your money to Vegas because you could cash in big time with that bet.

  7. Magic Power says:
    January 27, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Steelers won’t win 5 games next year, three bad QBs

    ____________________________________________________

    And 1 bad coach who hasn’t done nothing 10 years that has had any meaning.

  8. whodatalien says:

    January 27, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    i believe him the steelers were a mess for the entire 10’s
    ——-
    They may have been a mess behind the scenes and/or in the locker room but not on the field. Over the last 10 seasons they had 7 winning seasons, finished .500 the other 3 seasons and made the playoffs 6 times.

  9. Sanders said that Jimmy G. is a “baller.” That is good enough for me. He is a good judge of quarterback talent. You can google “Emmanuel Sanders baller” and see the video for yourself.

  10. Sunday Swami says:
    January 27, 2020 at 2:44 pm
    whodatalien says:

    January 27, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    i believe him the steelers were a mess for the entire 10’s
    ——-
    They may have been a mess behind the scenes and/or in the locker room but not on the field. Over the last 10 seasons they had 7 winning seasons, finished .500 the other 3 seasons and made the playoffs 6 times.
    —————————————————————————
    I wish that my team could play the Browns twice a year, instead of the Chiefs.

  11. The truth hurts. I’ve read some accounts of fans interactions with Ben and they are unreal as to how much of a jerk he was to people.

  12. Props to the man for telling it like it is and not backing off, and also for admitting he’s flawed as well

  13. Sanders is right about his Peyton v. Ben statement!

    ________________________________________

    Maybe. But Peyton was very Kobe Bryant like when it came to practice and wanting to outwork. Don’t know if that’s a fair comparison because no one outworked Peyton anyway. Jerk or not Ben won a few superbowls without Sanders and AB

  14. Sanders can come back to Denver now that we have a decent QB. He asked Elway for a trade, Elway obliged, and now Sanders is playing in his second Super Bowl, so there shouldn’t be any bad blood. That being said, he’s a 1 year deal guy at 32yo coming off an Achilles injury. It’s great he was able to come back and contribute, but those injuries take a few years off of an athlete’s career and Father Time will be knocking on Sanders’ door sooner than later.

  15. KeepItReal says:

    January 27, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I wish that my team could play the Browns twice a year, instead of the Chiefs.
    —————
    Why would you compare playing the Browns twice a year to playing the chiefs rather than the raiders. Every division has a bad team. The whole division argument is also usually false and here is no different as a quick check shows over that time period the steelers had a .610 winning percentage against non-division opponents.

  16. Nothing about Emmanuel Sanders strikes me as grown up. I hope the Chiefs’ defense lights him up early and often.

  17. Unnecessarily still throwing Ben under the bus with these unprovoked pot shots doesn’t sound very grown up to me.

  18. KeepItReal says:

    January 27, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I wish that my team could play the Browns twice a year, instead of the Chiefs.
    ====================
    Steelers also play the Ravens twice a year, a team that has achieved much more over the past 10-15 years than the Chiefs.

  19. If you know the two guys (as well as you could from reading about them), you’d agree with the statement that both have grown up quite bit since their time in Pittsburgh. That said, despite Ben’s alleged childishness and Sanders’ less than classy way of handling it, those three really began the big numbers era in Pittsburgh that the team’s been known for since. The Steelers had a few big time recievers before-Hines Ward to Santonio Holmes to Plaxico Burress and, dare we say, Antwaan Randle El?-but it wasn’t like it is now (until last year), with gaudy passing numbers and league leading offense. Sanders, Brown, and Ben ushered in that era. There were times as well when no name guys came up with big years for the Steelers, just because they were playing there. All that started because of of undersized, savvy route routers like Sanders and Brown who could make tough catches and always got open. And after the exodus of all the old players from the 2000s, that defense was in the pits (and after Dick LeBeau left because his system was too complicated), so the offense was the team for a while.

    So yeah, despite the apparent dysfunction between some of their star skill position players and Big Ben (or the organization), they did some great things together. But who knows? If they had managed to get along, or had better group working habits, could they have made that extra play or two to get them further? I’d say yes, as a general rule, but without knowing the specifics, I can’t really say. I can just say, again, that Sanders and Brown and Ben ushered in a new era for the Steelers in terms of team identity. We’ll remember it, but we’ll wonder whether they could have done better too.

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