Emmanuel Sanders tells the story of his unlikely path to the Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Sanders retired from the NFL as a member of the Denver Broncos on Wednesday, but he was close to signing with one of the franchise’s greatest rivals back in 2014, before eventually signing his inital contract with the Broncos.

When Sanders made the decision to sign in Denver, he was actually at the facility of the Kansas City Chiefs, and was about to sign with them instead.

Andy Reid had left and I’m sitting there. We were trying to work out the logistics because I wanted to sign for three years, and they wanted me to sign for four,” Sanders shared with the Broncos press. “I told them, ‘No, I’m only signing for three [years].’ Andy Reid leaves [because] he thinks I’m signing with the Chiefs. All of the sudden, I’m telling him—I get the call in the facility that I can go to Denver. I tell them I’m going to Denver. So, I’m there in their facility and I remember telling them, ‘I just want to go back to my hotel and figure out the situation. I don’t know what I want to do. I might sign, but I don’t know.’ I was just trying to get out of there so I could go celebrate because I’m about to go play with Peyton freaking Manning, “The Sheriff”. They wouldn’t let me out of the facility, and I remember trying to leave. I remember Andy Reid. I see this car just flying down, and he hopped out 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.’ I remember calling all of my family and I told them, ‘I’m about to sign with the Chiefs.’ It didn’t happen and I ended up coming here, which was the best thing ever.”

Sanders retired seventh all-time in receptions for the Broncos, 10th all-time in receiving yards, and 12th all-time in receiving touchdowns, and those ranks could be a lot higher if he had good quarterback play for more than just one of his seasons in Denver.

It’s wild to think about how close the Broncos were to never have one of their iconic stars of the 2010s.

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