Emmanuel Sanders Comments on Playing with Peyton Manning vs. Ben Roethlisberger

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2014

Jul 29, 2013; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talk with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (88) during practice at St. Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Pugliese-USA TODAY Sports

Updates from Wednesday, July 30

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown spoke about Emmanuel Sanders' comments on Ben Roethlisberger's leadership, via ESPN's Scott Brown:

Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders were teammates for four seasons with the Steelers and remain good friends, but Brown took issue with Sanders calling Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning a "far better leader" than Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger earlier this week.

"That was terrible," Brown said Wednesday. "You don't throw your quarterback under the bus, the guy who makes you who you are."

Sanders also clarified his comments:


Original Text

Emmanuel Sanders probably shouldn't expect a Christmas card from Ben Roethlisberger this winter. The former Pittsburgh Steelers and current Denver Broncos wide receiver called Peyton Manning "a far better leader" in an interview with 104.3 The Fan in Denver, via NFL.com's Dan Hanzus:

(From) a mental standpoint, I don't care to really say this, but I feel Peyton is a far better leader. In terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him and things of that sort. This is the first time that I had a quarterback that stays every single day after practice, no matter what his accolades. From NFL MVP, Super Bowl rings. He keeps guys like me and (Cody) Latimer after practice and we're out there 15, 20 minutes. And he's not one of those guys you gotta go chase down, he's gonna be right at the same spot ready to work, every single day.

Saying Manning is better than Roethlisberger isn't an incendiary statement. Most fans would agree that No. 18 gets the edge. He's one of the best to ever play the game. Few, if any, QBs in the league today can match Manning.

What's surprising is that Sanders complimented his current quarterback at the expense of his old quarterback. Roethlisberger is a two-time Super Bowl winner and in part helped Sanders get his current deal in Denver. In four years with the Steelers, he caught 161 passes for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns.

If you're a Broncos fan, you certainly don't want the 27-year-old going on and on about how great it was in Pittsburgh and how much he loved playing with Big Ben. Of course he's gonna talk up his current teammate and heap plenty of praise upon his accomplishments.

September 9 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) greets Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) following the game at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 31-19. Mandatory Credit: Ron Ch

Next time, though, Sanders might be better off avoiding any sort of teammate comparisons. It only leads to trouble.

He did try to dig himself out of the hole he created.

"I've got so much love for Big Ben, he's helped me out tremendously in so many ways," added Sanders later in the interview. "On and off the field, he's made me a better player. But at the same time, I'm not gonna lie, I'm happy to be a part of this organization."

In the NFL, coaches and players are extremely quick to label something "bulletin board material," and you can count on this being brought up again if the Steelers and Broncos meet in the playoffs this season.