Emmanuel Sanders ‘wasn’t surprised’ Steelers matched New England’s offer

Justin K. Aller

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take Wednesday, Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said he’s excited about the opportunity to start in Pittsburgh, and that he “wasn’t surprised” the Steelers matched the Patriots $2.5 million offer for one season.

"I know my talent," Sanders said. "I'm really good when I get the opportunity."

Sanders is thought to be the only player to ever sign a one-year offer sheet in restricted free agency. The Steelers matched it, just a few months after having offered him a $1.3 million original round (3rd) tender level as a RFA.

He will likely be the Steelers' starting split end this season, barring a push from veteran Plaxico Burress or rookie Markus Wheaton. Burress, 35, isn't expected to challenge, and Wheaton's role will likely be at both split end and in the slot.

He's also either begun or is continuing to refer to himself in the third person, which is always annoying and never a good sign about the long-term signing prospects of a player. When referring to his decision, as well as the one of former Steelers WR Mike Wallace, he noted it's all business.

"I had to make the best decision for Emmanuel," he said. "And that's what Mike Wallace had to do. It's never about the team. Mike loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's business, it's nothing personal.

"I'm happy but I'm sad that [Wallace] is gone, because that's my brother. We came in together, we worked hard together. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to being a starter."

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