Is former Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders still playing football?

Emmanuel Sanders #1 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Sanders #1 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

Emmanuel Sanders had a very productive career following his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Is the seasoned wide receiver still playing football?

Anytime a player’s NFL career spans more than a decade, we know they are doing something right. In the most popular sport in the United States, there are only a handful of roster spots for each position across the 32 teams in the league.

One player who has had more success than we could have predicted is former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders was a member of one of Kevin Colbert’s most impressive draft classes all the way back in 2010 — a class that included players like Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, and Jason Worilds.

However, when it came time to reach out to the ‘young money crew,’ it was ultimately Brown who got the contract extension for the Steelers while Sanders hit the market as a restricted free agent.

In 2014, Sanders would sign with the Denver Broncos where his career would really take off playing with Peyton Manning. Despite never earning more than 740 yards in a season with the Steelers, Sanders became an instant Pro Bowler in Denver — earning 101 receptions for 1,404 yards and 9 touchdowns in his first season on the Broncos, via Pro Football Reference.

Remarkably, Sanders has played on five different NFL teams and has earned roughly $68 million in his career, according to Over the Cap. But is the former Steelers receiver still playing football right now?

Sanders might retire soon

Twelve years after entering the league, Emmanuel Sanders currently remains a free agent. While he could look to land on his sixth NFL franchise in 13 years, it’s looking like the former third-round pick could finally hang up his cleats for good.

Sanders has been sitting on the market for a while now, and he’s not guaranteed to find a home. Even if there’s a team out there who reaches out to him, they may not be willing to fork up much money for the 35-year-old receiver without much left in the tank.

Interestingly, Sanders still earned 77 percent of total offensive snaps from the Buffalo Bills last season while putting up 626 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.

Some have flirted with the idea of the Steelers signing Sanders in free agency. He and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t exactly get along back in the day, but Pittsburgh has a history with him. However, after already beefing up the WR depth with players like George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Myles Boykin, and Gunner Olszewski, that seems very unlikely.

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The 13-year veteran still could have a role in the NFL, but after what he has accomplished and the money he has made, he could simply decide to hang it up while his good health is still intact — especially if he doesn’t get the offer he’s looking for.