Sanders caught 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and left to sign with the Denver Broncos in March.
During an interview Friday with “The Drive” on 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Sanders compared and contrasted Peyton and Big Ben. He reluctantly pointed out the reality that Manning is a better leader.
“(From) a mental standpoint, I don’t care to really say this, but I feel Peyton is a far better leader,” Sanders said. “In terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him and things of that sort.
“This is the first time that I had a quarterback that stays every single day after practice, no matter what his accolades. From NFL MVP, Super Bowl rings. He keeps guys like me and (Cody) Lattimore after practice and we’re out there 15, 20 minutes. And he’s not one of those guys you gotta go chase down, he’s gonna be right at the same spot ready to work, every single day.
“And I just feel like that’s the difference from a mental standpoint of the both. But both of them are winners. And Ben, his playing style is a lot different. Ben, with the system that he’s in Pittsburgh, he takes advantage of it.”
We’ve heard this sort of thing about Peyton for years, so it’s really no surprise to hear that he is still driven and dedicated to being the best even at age 38. You think being an MVP comes by accident?
Still, Sanders wanted to make sure his comments didn’t come off as if he were disparaging Big Ben.
“I’ve got so much love for Big Ben, he’s helped me out tremendously in so many ways,” Sanders said. “On and off the field, he’s made me a better player. But at the same time, I’m not gonna lie, I’m happy to be a part of this organization. I’m happy to have Peyton Manning as my quarterback.”
The reviews about Sanders have been strong so far. Eric Decker signed with the Jets and Sanders will have a chance to step in and produce. Given all his extra work with Peyton, we’re banking on him having a big season for the Broncos. And if Roethlisberger takes offense to the comments, maybe he needs to change the way does business.
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