Mar 17, 2014 10:00 AM by Greg Smith
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Sunday afternoon, Emmanuel Sanders was officially introduced to, as he called it, "wide receiver heaven."
"To play with Peyton Manning is like wide receiver heaven," Sanders smiled. "I feel like he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. Definitely I look up to him a lot in terms of his preparation, and I know that he's going to make me a better player whether it's mentally and physically. I know that I'm in a great environment."
At the start of free agency, Sanders told his agent, Steve Weinberg, that depending on what happened with former Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker -- who signed with the New York Jets as an unrestricted free agent -- he would love to play with Manning.
"I told Steve to make sure he called over to the Broncos and let them know that I'm interested," Sanders recalled. "So we started the free-agency process, but every day I was asking Steve, 'Did they call? Did they call?' And they finally called."
When the numbers Sanders was asking for matched up with what the Broncos were willing to offer, there wasn't much else to think about.
"This is the team that I wanted to go to during free agency," Sanders said. "Yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life."
Now that he's in Denver, Sanders just wants to fit in with an offense he watched set NFL records in 2013.
"I remember sitting at my house like, 'Man, that's what I want to be a part of someday,'" he said. "They had a really good season last year. Hopefully we can repeat the same thing but this time finish it off."
Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said when introducing Sanders that the receiver will "add a tremendous amount to the offensive side" of the football. After the press conference concluded, Elway elaborated.
"He'll fit in great," Elway said. "He can play inside or outside. He'll be inside, he'll be outside. He's explosive and really does a good job after he catches the ball."
"He was the guy that we had targeted from the very get-go and we were fortunate enough to land him."
When describing his own game, Sanders said he doesn't like to label himself just an inside or outside receiver, to Elway's point.
"I'm going to always try to be versatile," he said. "I just like the craft of being a receiver."
But what is about him that helped him cause 15 missed tackles, which according to ProFootballFocus.com was fourth-most among wide receivers in 2013?
"My game is I like to get the ball in my hands. I like to run after the catch. I feel like from a speed perspective, I like to go down the field," Sanders said. "I feel like I've got the all-around package, even from a run perspective. I'm going to give it my all from a blocking perspective, because I know if I'm blocking downfield, that allows the running back to take the ball 80 yards. Like I said, I just want to win."
The wide receiver said that Manning texted him as soon as he decided to sign with the Broncos, and he's already gotten a coveted invite to Duke University to work out with the quarterback and his top targets.
And he hopes that he will add a new type of threat to the receiving corps, making it tough on defense that try to focus on slowing down a big, physical receiver like Demaryius Thomas.
"Now that I'm on the other side, a speed guy, a quick guy, a run-after-the-catch guy, it's going to be hard," he said. "It adds another dimension to your offense."
It's no secret that the Broncos have a World Championship on their minds entering 2014. After falling in Super Bowl XLVIII, the team wants to make sure it doesn't come up short this coming season.
Sanders knows exactly how the players feel. After all, he was on the losing end of a Super Bowl in his rookie season, and broke his foot in the process.
"I remember 2010, I ended up breaking my foot in the Super Bowl," Sanders said. "And the only thing that I remember from the Super Bowl is walking off that field and seeing the confetti fall and seeing the Green Bay Packers celebrating. I said, 'You know what? Someday I've got to get back here and I want the confetti falling down on me.' My ultimate dream is, I just had a son, and I want to go hoist that Lombardi and have my son run onto the field.
"This is a place that can make that dream come true."