KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders slipped away from the Chiefs days after the start of 2014 free agency.
The Chiefs hosted Sanders on March 15 in an attempt to bolster the wide receiving corps, and the 5-11, 180-pound Sanders would have addressed that need.
But Sanders eventually signed with the Broncos, and he explained on Wednesday to reporters in the Denver locker room how the visit with the Chiefs went down.
“I was out in Kansas City, of course,” Sanders said in the transcript provided by the Broncos. “I was out there for like five hours though, so we were going back and forth on deals and we couldn’t come to a conclusion.”
Sanders said he had a scheduled flight to visit the San Francisco 49ers before missing it, and then the call from the Broncos arrived.
“Denver ended up calling right before I was getting ready to sign,” Sanders explained. “I was either going to sign with Kansas City or Tampa Bay or even catch a flight out in the morning to San Francisco. So there wasn’t anything in stone, and they tried to make it seem that way, but I’m way past that. I actually forgot about that. It’s crazy, you all reminded me.”
Sanders admitted the process with the Chiefs “was close,” but nothing official considering the areas that needed ironing out.
“We still had a lot of stuff that we had to deal with in terms of incentives,” he said, “But I think we had the foundation of the contract ready, but I wasn’t happy with the incentives. So that whole ordeal was close, but it wasn’t anything official. They tried to make it seem like it was official, but it never was. Here I am a Denver Bronco, and I’m happy to be here.”
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey briefly addressed the Sanders courtship during a March 18 afternoon media conference call.
One of the questions Dorsey fielded dealt specifically if the Chiefs felt there was a deal in place.
“I don’t know about all of that,” Dorsey said then. “During the free agency stuff, anything can happen. You know what, I was interested in a player and at the end of the day the player and agent decided to go to Denver.
“I’m one of those guys, it’s kind of like the Vance Walker deal, that deal was put to bed and you don’t look in the rearview mirror. We have to move forward and build this organization. That’s kind of where we are with this, and I’m moving forward to the next project.”
The line of questioning was based on a statement released by Sanders’ agent, Steve Weinberg, on the morning of March 18 in response to an NFL.com report there was an agreement in principle with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs moved on and focused on other areas as time went by.
Sanders landed in Denver where he’s apparently in a happy place based on what he told reporters Wednesday.
“I just feel like I was a better fit here in Denver and it was obvious,” he said. “They throw the football.”
Sanders caught six passes for 77 yards on nine targets in Denver’s season opening 31-24 win against the Indianapolis Colts.
And he’s impressed his perennial All-Pro quarterback.
“I’ve enjoyed the work ethic that he’s shown,” Peyton Manning said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “We started early April doing a little off-campus workouts over there at Duke and he was there, came down with great attitude and I really learned early on he had a great work ethic and really wanted to learn this offense and learn to get on the same page with me.”
The Chiefs (0-1) have an opportunity to see up close how that relationship has developed when the team travels to Denver (1-0) for Sunday’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.