Sanders Preferred Dome Cooking to Lambeau Leaping

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – For Emmanuel Sanders, there was no place like dome.

The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers were among the teams courting the free-agent receiver. Ultimately, Sanders chose Drew Brees and the Saints over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

“I don’t have a problem with Aaron Rodgers. That’s greatness, as well,” Sanders said on the “Rich Eisen Show” on Monday. “But it’s just Green Bay. That cold weather, I wouldn’t try to do it. I wouldn’t try to do it. To be in a dome 12 games out of the year in a pass-heavy offense or go to Green Bay, it’s like, ‘I can’t do it.’ I’d rather go to New Orleans. I’m from the South. My grandma is 6 hours away and can come to all the games. My family can drive up. It’s a perfect opportunity for me.”

Video: The latest on Green Bay Packers free agency

The Packers had “real” interest in Sanders, a source said after Sanders joined the Saints. Sanders said the Packers wanted to sign him to a three-year contract; the 33-year-old Sanders preferred taking a two-year deal.

At the trade deadline, the Broncos sent Sanders and a fifth-round pick to the 49ers for third- and fourth-round choices. In 10 games with the Niners, Sanders caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns; in 17 games, Sanders caught 66 passes. In 10 seasons, Sanders has 601 receptions for 7,893 yards and 42 scores. Of 109 receivers who were targeted at least 32 times, Sanders ranked seventh in drop percentage (1.5 percent; one drop). 

Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander owned their season matchups. The Packers faced Sanders three times – once with Denver in the regular season, once with San Francisco in the regular season and once with San Francisco in the playoffs. With Denver, Sanders caught 2-of-5 passes for 10 yards. In the regular-season game, Sanders caught his only target for 15 yards. In the NFC Championship Game, when the Niners barely had to throw the ball, he was not targeted.

Still, the Packers wanted him but wound up settling on Devin Funchess.

“It felt good in free agency knowing that teams who are on the verge of trying to win a Super Bowl were trying to bring me in,” Sanders said. “I never take things like that lightly.”