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A passion for football drives Emmanuel Sanders to be great

Emmanuel Sanders (1). Buffalo Bills Training Camp. July 28, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert
Emmanuel Sanders (1). Buffalo Bills Training Camp. July 28, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

Emmanuel Sanders has accomplished a lot throughout his 11-year NFL career, but he's still not content. There is a lot more he wants to accomplish and that starts with helping the Bills get to the Super Bowl and win it all. Through only two days of training camp practices, Sanders is impressed with the talent on this team. More importantly, Sanders has noticed something about the heart and the drive of the Buffalo Bills. 

"You have a group of guys that are passionate about what they do," Sanders said. "You might think everybody is passionate about it, but nah. Some guys are just good at it. Passion and being good are two different things. I think in this group, we have a lot of guys who are passionate about what they're doing. They want to be successful and they're having fun doing what they love to do."

Both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have been eyeing Sanders for a while now. Beane tried to trade for him when he was playing for the Broncos and even talked with Sanders last offseason before he signed with New Orleans. Sanders is a high-character veteran player that fits in perfectly with the culture that Beane and McDermott have built here in Buffalo. McDermott thinks that Sanders can provide a lot for the Bills offense and for the team as a whole. 

"What he provides our team is another veteran that's been around it," McDermott told the media on Wednesday. "He's been in three and has won one Super Bowl in his career. So, that brings something to our locker room, it brings something to our team. And then on the field with respect to the wide receiver position, I think it just gives Josh another option. A guy that can get vertical, but it can also work the underneath and intermediate game as well."

Along with his stats and accolades, Sanders has played alongside numerous future Hall of Fame players and has learned a lot from them. He has studied players like Peyton Manning, Hines Ward, Drew Brees and DeMarcus Ware because he knows in order to be the best you have to learn from the best. 

Entering his 12th season in the league, Sanders wants to take the knowledge he has gathered and pass it on to anyone who will listen. For the Bills newest wide receiver, it's important for him to make connections with his teammates and help them be great.

"I show up and try to do the right thing and be an example and if I see something that's wrong, obviously, I'm going to say something about it," Sanders stated. "But I just want to be an example. Show the young guys if they have questions, for me, I'm just talking but they're receiving information on how to be a pro. How to think and what to look for, and I just want to be that veteran presence."

Sanders did his research before coming to Buffalo, and he concluded that this team has a great shot to win the Super Bowl and he wants to be a part of it. There is another factor that might have swayed Sanders into signing with the Bills, and that's Cole Beasley. Sanders and Beasley played together at SMU from 2008-2009, and Beasley is thrilled to be back in red, white, and blue with his college teammate. 

"He brings a lot of juice and energy to this team and I'm excited to get to play with him once again," Beasley said. "It'd be the coolest thing ever if we could kind of put this thing together and get a Super Bowl together. I think it was the first bowl game we won in 25 years at SMU, and we did that together, so I think it'd be really awesome to kind of add something to that, in the NFL."

One thing about this Bills team that has helped them be successful, is the closeness and camaraderie that the players and coaches have with one another. This team is one big family, and Sanders appreciates that. This being his first year with the team, he took the opportunity to get up in front of his new teammates and talk to them about who he is as a player and a person. 

"I told them about where I'm from, how I was raised and then I talked about my career and then I told them why I came here, why I chose Buffalo," Sanders said. "Just to let the guys know me and what I'm about and what I'm willing to do and willing to put on the line. Because it's hard to play with a guy when you really don't know them. All the teams that I've been on that have made it to the Super Bowl, we've had those off the field type of conversations where you get to know guys and you grow."

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