Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said in an interview on ESPN's "First Take" that he's excited to still be a member of the Steelers and hopes he can stay with the team for the rest of his career, according to ESPN Jamison Hensley:
"I love the Pittsburgh Steelers," he said. "I want to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. I'm happy that I'm still a Pittsburgh Steeler. Hopefully we can work out a long-term deal, and I can be a Steeler for my entire career."
More: Steelers blog, Behind the Steel Curtain
Sanders was a restricted free agent heading into the 2013 season and was offered a contract by the New England Patriots. He signed the offer sheet, but the Steelers matched, forfeiting a potential third-round pick in compensation. Sanders, who caught a career-high 44 passes for 626 yards and a touchdown in 2012, said he wasn't surprised that the Steelers ponied up to offset the Patriots' contract bid:
"It was a win-win situation. I wasn't surprised [that Pittsburgh matched the offer]," Sanders said during an interview with ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday morning. "I know my talent. I'm really good when I get the opportunity."
Mike Wallace has been the big name in the Steelers receiving corps but, with his departure to the Dolphins in free agency, Sanders is poised to take a starting wide receiver position. Sanders is still sad, though, that Wallace is gone.
"I had to make the best decision for Emmanuel," he said. "And that's what Mike Wallace had to do. It's never about the team. Mike loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's business, it's nothing personal.
"I'm happy but I'm sad that [Wallace] is gone, because that's my brother. We came in together, we worked hard together. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to being a starter."