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Emmanuel Sanders was a fan favorite the second he arrived in Denver.
Over the course of his first season with the Denver Broncos, that didn’t change. They heard of his tireless work ethic and how he was always the last player off the field.
Sanders doesn’t take his opportunity for granted and he knows the expectations that come with playing for this organization.
In the same refrain, he’s authentic off the field with how he interacts with Broncos Country. It’s special he does that, and only makes him more appreciated.
But as John Elway has said since the debacle against the Indianapolis Colts, he wants his team and coaching staff to go out “kicking and screaming.” Just as he said again on Thursday.
Some of the talk going into training camp is the individual records, namely Demaryius Thomas saying he wants to set the single-season record for receiving yards in a season.
“I love that. I want to break records too. But it’s about winning the Super Bowl,” Sanders told the media on the eve of Broncos training camp.
It’s become cliche at this point when you mention it just because of how often it’s said and the reaction when it is, but here it is again: Kicking and screaming.
As was the case when the Elway-led Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls, it wasn’t about the player or team records. The first and only goal for those teams was the Super Bowl. The 2,000 yard rushing by Terrell Davis was a cherry to that delicious sundae.
But if those two season in 1997 and ’98 don’t end with the Lombardi Trophy, they’re failures. That’s the case with the current Broncos, from the crushing loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the curb stomping in the Super Bowl and the embarrassment to the Colts.
In all three instances you come back to kicking and screaming. In all three instances, Denver didn’t in any way, shape or form.
Sure, those teams had some nice seasons and one became the best offense in the history of the NFL, but that doesn’t matter to this organization. It’s about world championships.
Sanders gets that.
As he showed in his first season. And he’s putting in just as much work, if not more, this offseason because unless his team holds the Lombardi Trophy, it wasn’t a success. Sanders wants to flush that awful ending to the season out of his system. The only way to do that is to put in the work now.
Sanders is the type of leader this team needs.
Now, those players have the coaches who will go out kicking and screaming, as opposed to taking a knee or quitting before a playoff game.
“The bar has been set, we are here to win a championship,” Gary Kubiak said. “But we have to keep the team focused on what they have to do now.”
There it is again: Kicking and screaming.
Sanders was a fan favorite from the start, but to get over that last remaining hurdle he will play a major reason if and when they do. Not because of what he does on Sundays but what he does the six days prior and throughout the offseason.
Sanders’ quote should be etched into the minds of all the players as they head into training camp: “I love that. I want to break records too. But it’s about winning the Super Bowl.”