Fan-favorite Emmanuel Sanders will be playing in the final year of his three-year contract, and many Denver fans hope the team can find a way to keep the wide reciever for many years to come.
And Sanders hopes so too.
"I mean this sincerely: The city of Denver has been really good to me. I want to be a Bronco. I want to be a Bronco for a long time. I want to retire a Bronco," he said today after players finished their first voluntary workout in Dove Valley since winning the Super Bowl just two months ago. "Hopefully everything works out."
The Broncos certainly need Sanders, who was responsible not only for 1,135 yards receiving but also six touchdowns and a multitude of drive-saving third-down conversions. In his first year with the Broncos, Sanders posted 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns.
Regardless of the production - which has been both awesome and necessary - it's the clutch play time and again that has endeared him to Broncos Country.
Well, that and his smile.
Sanders noted in his post-workout presser that it's definitely been weird not to have Peyton Manning around and that the locker room misses No. 18.
But the wide receiver has been impressed with the skills Mark Sanchez will be bringing to the team.
"I can tell he wants to be a leader on this team; he wants to be the quarterback and he wants to be the guy," said Sanders, who was one of several receivers to attend a passing camp in Southern California with Sanchez earlier this offseason. "I was impressed by his arm strength. I was impressed with the throws he was making. I've been here around the locker room and he's been spending extra time in the facility. That's the type of guy that we need. It's going to be fun."
Bennie Fowler (@b_fowler13) April 6, 2016
Although Sanders is ready to start work toward another championship, saying he's already excited to bring another Super Bowl parade to Denver, No. 10 isn't quite ready to move past the 2015 season.
And he doesn't really think he needs to in order to work for the new season.
"Every day I'm going to go home and talk to my ring," he joked. "I'm about to cry just talking about it."
Certainly no one in Broncos Country will be crying if the wide receiver re-signs with the team after this season to stay for a long time.
But even with the ring, Sanders is hungry for more. And having a second season under the new offense is only going to help this team improve next year on that side of the ball.
"Last year when we showed up to OTAs we were talking about Xs and Os that I didn't understand. This year I'm in the back of the room like, ‘Man, we're really going over a slant route right now?'" Sanders said, adding that they are all more comfortable with the coaching staff, the playbook and each other. "I think this season the offense will be a step better."
And Sanders is definitely happy to have most of last year's No. 1 defense backing him and the Broncos offense up again this season.
"Defense wins championships, and they showed it. I was talking to Mark and I [said], ‘Listen, you've got a bad defense behind you. All you have to do is take care of the football and we'll win a lot of games.' I mean that," Sanders said. "We've got nine starters coming back on our defense. Those guys know they're great. ...They are a confident group of guys and I'm happy that they're on my team."