A lot of you are telling me that you’re tired of reading about former Pittsburgh Steelers making comments about an organization you’re no longer a part of. Yet most of you are still reading the articles, truth be told. Believe it or not, but I’m selective with what I pass along, if I feel I have something to say about a comment.
This one from Emmanuel Sanders was a bit of a doozy. I don’t believe he’s ever relayed this before, but he appeared on 104.3 The Fan yesterday out in Denver and during a long interview, the Steelers came up, in which he talked about the offseason in which he became a free agent. And he didn’t have a flattering story to tell about General Manager Kevin Colbert.
“The Steelers offered me a contract. They just offered me a crappy deal. They offered me three years, $9 million [with] $1 million guaranteed”, he said. He played on a one-year, $2.5 million deal in 2013 after they matched an offer from the New England Patriots, having a career year at the time with 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns.
“It’s crazy because I’ll never forget, when they offered me the deal and I declined it, I went into Kevin Colbert’s office the last time I was at the Steelers’ facility, I walk in and tell Kevin Colbert, ‘I don’t want to take the deal’”, he said. “And he looks at me and he goes, ‘who do you think you are, Antonio Brown?’”.
Now, we have to make the assumption, first, that Colbert really said that, and we also have to assume that there was nothing that Sanders said that might prompt that kind of comment from the Steelers’ General Manager. With that said…what he said was still true. Especially at that point in his career.
“I wanted to say ‘F you’, but I just got up and I said, ‘I’ll never forget that’”, he went on in relaying the story. “And I remember I was extremely mad and I walked past Mike Tomlin’s office, and he pulls me out and I said ‘Kevin Colbert just disrespected me more than ever’”.
“So I go into Mike Tomlin’s office and he tells me, ‘look, Kevin might have said what he said, but at the same time, we just don’t have the money to pay you. And I said ‘I respect that, but at the same time, you don’t have to disrespect me when I turn down a crappy deal’”.
It worked out for Sanders in Denver, having a couple of Pro Bowl seasons, his best being literally the next year when he caught 101 passes for 1404 yards and nine touchdowns. All career highs. He would have three straight seasons with 75-plus receptions for over 1000 yards and at least five touchdowns.
Things haven’t been as great the past couple of years, but they also haven’t really had a quarterback. He suffered a season-ending injury after his Broncos played and beat the Steelers last year, and he has managed to do a lot of talking, quite frankly, during his recovery process.