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Thread: Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

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    Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

    Note: Recently, LLT was granted the opportunity to conduct an interview with Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers' 2nd year wide receiver! The following is a transcript of their interview. Steelers Universe would like to extend our gratitude to Emmanuel for taking the time to talk with us, and Kim Tarby, Director of Player Relations with Willis & Woy Sports Group, LLC, for coordinating our interview with Emmanuel!



    SU: This is Perry Biggerstaff with steelersuniverse.com and we are talking to Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Emmanuel thank you for joining us!

    ES: Thanks for having me!

    SU: You know it was an up and down year for you last year, you became what a lot of people considered to be the heir apparent to Hines Ward, and you became the late season favorite of Ben Roethlisberger. You made it to the Super Bowl your rookie year, and then you break your foot. It had to be heartbreaking to go that far and then just be forced out of the game with an injury. How does that motivate you at this point?

    ES: Oh, it was definitely heartbreaking, man. I was having a pretty good season and you know, to go all the way to the Super Bowl and break my foot and not only that, losing....it definitely hurts and it makes you hungrier. And, you know, Iíve been working out every day thinking about the Super Bowl and how I need to get back to winning and being healthy and Iím definitely motivated and you can tell that by my workouts. My trainer tells me to go 10 reps and Iíll go 12 reps because thatís how hungry I am.

    SU: Is the foot 100%?

    ES: Well, yeah, all my right foot is 100%. You know, I ended up having 2 foot surgeries this offseason. I actually had a slight fracture in my left foot also so they went in and put a pin in, so I got my boot off and have been working on the other foot.

    SU: So one of your feet is 100% but youíre still kind of working on the other?

    ES: Yeah, yup.

    SU: You know, Emmanuel, you come across as a perfectionist. I heard you talking in the past about living in the weight room and tape room. Is that the kind of guy you are and if so how does that mentally help you for this coming season?

    ES: I firmly believe that you can achieve anything with hard work and you have to put the time in. You have to put the effort in. and my mentality is if Iím going to do anything I can to be the best that ever did itÖ.and thatís talking about receivingÖ.so therefore I dedicate myself in the weight room and I dedicate myself to the routes and Iím always breaking down film and I just review how I could have gotten better from those games, so you know constantly getting better, thatís my mentality.

    SU: In most cases, itís the veteran wide receivers that take the rookies under their wing and they help them out, but in your case it was Charlie Batch; he kind of adopted you and showed you around

    ES: Yeah, I mean, Charlie BatchÖ. heís been in the NFL a long time and heís seen a bunch of people come and go, and he kind of took me under his wing and just kind of showed me the ropes a little bit. Not only Charlie, I think Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward did a great job. They showed us what it takes to be a veteran wide receiver in this league and how to be a pro, and I think thatís why mine and Antonioís maturity level was very high and we were able to do what we did this past season because of those guys.

    SU: At SMU you played under June Jones. What advice or training did he pass on to you to make you NFL-ready?

    ES: You know, how he ran his practices and his offense ended up making me ready because with Coach Jonesí offense you had to be able to read coverage. Based off one play we had 4 Ė 5 different route options depending on what the defense was showing and at this level in order to play early youíre going to have to learn how to read coverage. In the NFL, the defense is disguised very well. And I think Coach Jonesí offense definitely helped me out there and not only that, but he coached in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and he ran his camps like the NFL, so I was able to come into training camp last year and hit the ground running

    SU: You know, you bring up a great point. I have had discussions in the past where I have talked to people who were down on Bruce Ariansí system. They would argue that he wasnít using you and Antonio Brown efficiently, but the truth of the matter is that itís a complicated system that he runs and he had to bring you along with baby steps until you could read the coverage. Is that correct?

    ES: Oh yeah. I love Bruce Arians. I think he took the right steps in order to bring me and Antonio along because at the beginning of the season we werenít 100% comfortable, and towards the end when we started getting comfortable, he started working us in and it ended up paying off. Teams didnít know too much about me and Antonio in the playoffs and towards the end of the season we ended up hurting them.

    SU: You have said, on occasion, that you pattern your style of play on wide receiver Steve Smith. If not his style, then his approach to the game. Is that just because heís such a hard worker with a no quit attitude?

    ES: Yeah, thatís my attitude. Iím 178lbsÖ.180 on a good day but you know I donít really play the game as if Iím going to get hurt. Iím going to go in and Iím going to go up and catch the ball over a 6í5Ē cornerback or linebacker if I have to. Iím going to go in and block them and Iím going to go in and try to knock his head offÖ.thatís my mentality no matter what size I am. I mean you canít play this game with fear and I definitely donít do that and I think thatís how Steve Smith plays.

    SU: You and Antonio Brown have forged a pretty strong friendship. Do the two of you thrive on the competitiveness of the sport and do you do a little trash talking to each other?

    ES: No, we donít too much. At the beginning we did do a little trash talking and it was very competitive. We didnít know who was going to end up making it and, you know, Antonio would say some slick stuff and Iíd say some slick stuff and we would get very competitive like Iím going to beat you out. But you know, as we grew as rookies and we started getting the ďrookie treatment,Ē we ended up coming together. Then it was us going up against the veterans so that ended up helping us out. Not only that, but Antonio is like a brother to me and he definitely made me a better wide receiver this past season. Heíll probably say the same thing about me because you know Coach Tomlin came out with the ďtwo-dogs-one-boneĒ mentality, so you knew in practice you had to bring your ďAĒ game. I had to compete against Antonio every day. Every day I was going 100%. I was working extremely hard just to try to make it to the next game and it definitely made me better.

    SU: They gave you #88, the number of former Steelers legend Lynn Swann. What does that mean to you?

    ES: It means a lot. I know that I have big shoes to fill. Thatís one of the reasons I work out harder now. I know the Steelers fans love to see that #88 out on the field and I know what the number 88 means to Pittsburgh and thatís greatness. I know what the number means and I know how much work I gotta put in and I will put that work in. And I definitely want to have just as many Super Bowls as he had and all the accolades he accomplished, because as a football player we want to achieve greatness and he was definitely one of the greatest receivers in Pittsburghís history.

    SU: As a rookie you made a visit to the Childrenís Hospital which is always so appreciated. Are those the type of outreach opportunities that are important to you?

    ES: I love giving back to the kids. Iím actually in the process of starting a foundation called ďElevateĒ in which the whole motto is to just try to elevate children and get them off the streets. Just stay inside, study, and play videogames so you arenít out on the streets hustling. So definitelyÖ.just trying to keep the kids safe and Iím all about that. Being able to just visit the Childrenís Hospital where you have so many sick kids that get to see us and it brightens up their day. Iíd do it every day if I could just to brighten up those kidsí days.

    SU: When you get that program on its feet you let us know over at Steelersuniverse.com and weíll help you out any way we can.

    ES: Hey! Alright, sounds good, thanks!

    SU: Tell me, what is it thatís motivating you going into this next season?

    ES: Thereís so many things that could motivate meÖ.the loss of the Super Bowl, me getting hurt, me definitely wanting to be the best - that motivates me every day and has been motivating me since I was 8 years old. I continuously say I want to be the best. Thatís always going to motivate me. I set my goals high just like at SMU when I had 1,000 yards. I work out every day to get that 1000 yards and I firmly believe that when you set your goals high, even if you come up a little short then you still went further than if you didnít set any goals at all. So I just work out hard every day to try to achieve.

    SU: Emmanuel, I tell you, I appreciate your attitude so much. We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today at Steelers Universe. Weíll be watching for you next year and we expect big things from you.

    ES: Yes sir, thank you.

    SU: Emmanuel, tell everyone where all Steelers fans need to go for all their Steelers needs.

    ES: Steelersuniverse.com, baby!

    This has been a steelersuniverse.com exclusive interview with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Thank you, Emmanuel!

    © 2011 Steelers Universe

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    Re: Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

    Wow!! The interviews just keep getting better and better! E has become one of my favorite players, on and off the field!



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    Re: Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

    ES: Yeah, that’s my attitude. I’m 178lbs….180 on a good day but you know I don’t really play the game as if I’m going to get hurt. I’m going to go in and I’m going to go up and catch the ball over a 6’5” cornerback or linebacker if I have to. I’m going to go in and block them and I’m going to go in and try to knock his head off….that’s my mentality no matter what size I am. I mean you can’t play this game with fear and I definitely don’t do that and I think that’s how Steve Smith plays.
    That's my kind of Steeler. Great job Perry. We sure have a great cast of kids on our team.

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    Re: Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

    I really like this guy. GOOD LUCK TO YOU E!!!
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"
    ~Rest In Peace HometownGal~

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    Re: Steelers Universe Exclusive Interview With Emmanuel Sanders - August 4, 2011

    Another terrific interview. Well done, Perry, and thanks to Emmanuel Sanders for taking time out to do the interview!








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