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Emmanuel Sanders hopes to be ready Week 1, but won’t rush Achilles rehab

Coming back from an Achilles injury is no easy task, but Emmanuel Sanders is hoping he’ll be ready to go for the Denver Broncos by Week 1.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Minicamp Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Sanders provided an injury update this week noting that he felt it was “realistic” to be ready for the Denver Broncos season opener against the Oakland Raiders. However, he declined to put a timeline on his recovery from his Achilles injury.

“It feels realistic, but who knows until I get out there and see how I feel,” Sanders said Monday at his youth football camp. “I’ve been working out with other NFL guys, but I haven’t been able to compare going up against a Chris Harris or going up against the defense. We’ll see how I feel, but in my head I’ve got all the confidence in the world that I’m going to go out and perform and have a Pro Bowl year. That’s what I want, and I’m working my butt off to try to attain that and achieve that.”

In early June, Sanders showed off him running routes again almost exactly seven months from when he tore his Achilles in practice on December 5, 2018. In March, he noted that he was well ahead of schedule according to trainers.

Running routes in shorts is one thing. He still hasn’t done any contact drills or any of that. Sanders is focused on staying with the process of recovery.

“We’re going to see,” Sanders said. “Just talking to the trainers, there’s no date on it. We’re not going to put a date on it. When training camp starts, we’re going to go with the flow and what they say. Obviously, I want to be out there. You guys know me. I’ve only got one [speed], and that’s go. But we’ve got to be smart about the injury. Obviously, right now, I’m running routes on my own and I feel good. But it’s different being out there and having to adjust on the fly, [having] a guy pressing you. I haven’t been able to experience that yet. So of course, we’re going to take our time with the process.”

While he may not be willing to provide a concrete timeline for his return, all signs at every step of the way during his rehab point towards Sanders being ahead of schedule on this. I certainly wouldn’t rule out a Week 1 return, but even if he misses the first few games he’ll be back sooner rather than later during the regular season.

Sanders is entering his tenth season in the NFL and is 32 years old. With one year remaining on his contract, this could end up being his final season with the Broncos. Here’s to hoping he makes it a good one.