Shortly after the 2021 season came to an end, veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said that he might retire rather than play a 13th season in NFL.
That decision has been made. Sanders remained unsigned throughout the offseason and announced on Wednesday that he is hanging up his cleats.
Sanders announced the decision through the Broncos. He played 82 games for Denver during his career, including their Super Bowl 50 win over the Panthers.
“I don’t have the itch,” Sanders said, via the team. “And I think I don’t have the itch because I know I gave the game everything that I had to offer. . . . I gave it my all. Every single rep, every single play. I tried to go 100 percent, as hard as I can. . . . I gave the game everything that I had, and the game gave it back to me. I’m walking away three Super Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl ring and memories of a lifetime. I’m absolutely blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be able to play this game at the level that I played at.”
Sanders began his career as a Steelers third-round pick in 2010 and went to a Super Bowl as a rookie. He moved on to Denver in 2014 and remained with them until a 2019 trade sent him to the 49ers. Sanders went to another Super Bowl with the Niners before wrapping up his career with one-year stints with the Saints and Bills.
Sanders caught 704 passes for 9,245 yards and 51 touchdowns in 172 regular season games. He added 52 catches for 622 yards and a touchdown in 15 postseason appearances.