Weeks before NFL free agency begins, fans pepper big-name players on social media to join their team. The onslaught for some can be great, with fans from east to west on the request line.
Sanders, who grew up in Belleville, Texas, signed with those Saints on Friday for two years, $16 million. He said Sunday on a conference call that his grandmother’s endorsement played a role in getting him to New Orleans.
“One of the first people I called was my grandma, because she called me, her and my aunt were on the phone when free agency started, and she said, ‘We’re praying you go to New Orleans!’ The Texans, they had an opportunity and needed a receiver, the Cowboys needed one, but my grandma was talking about New Orleans because she loves that team,” Sanders said, via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic. “She loves Drew Brees, she loves Sean Payton, she loves the offense and she wanted to watch me play. When I called her and told her she was so excited about it …
“Not only that, she’s excited because literally they can drive to the game if they wanted. My family, I don’t know how far of a distance it is, but I know last year when (the 49ers played the Saints in New Orleans) I had like 15 family members drive up, so it can’t be that long of a drive. So that’s pretty cool to be back down south and be close to my family as well.”
The 33-year-old receiver is exactly the type of player who could transform the Saints‘ offense, which has been overly reliant on Michael Thomas the past several seasons. Sanders’ ability to win with great route running, get open off the line of scrimmage, and corral catches in tight spaces, will give Drew Brees another reliable target.
For a Saints team that hasn’t been able to find a consistent second-fiddle, Sanders should fill that void and then some.
Sanders, who has already been to a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, and San Francisco 49ers, winning once (SB 50), the chance to chase another Lombardi Trophy was an even bigger reason than his grandmother’s suggestion.
“Ultimately, the goal is to try to bring a Super Bowl to New Orleans, and that’s the reason I signed that deal. I know I’ve got a great chance of winning another Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints,” he said.