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Transcript - Emmanuel Sanders Conference Call 1/7/21 | NFC Wild Card 2020

New Orleans Saints wideout Emmanuel Sanders talks about his New Orleans experience, Michael Thomas on Thursday, January 7, 2021.

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, January 7, 2021

Obviously, nothing's set in stone yet, but what would it mean to you to have the offense be at full strength this week? With Alvin (Kamara) potentially being able to play and Mike (Thomas) being designated to return from IR yesterday?
"I mean, perfect timing. If you wanted to predict like, how would you want the team to be, in terms of at what point of the season, which you want everybody to be back healthy and ready to go? You would say, the beginning of the playoffs and hopefully we all just last this entire, you know, playoff run. You know, one game at a time, obviously. But, we got the Bears coming up and we're back in full strength. We got Mike (Thomas), we got Deonte (Harris) back. Obviously we're still missing Tre'Quan (Smith). But, to have those two guys back at practice and just seeing them healthy and fresh. And seeing them fly around and seeing Deonte's (Harris') speed again on the field. And Mike (Thomas) coming out of his cuts, catching passes, it feels good to know that, we're going into the game with those guys."

When you were looking at New Orleans this offseason? Was there any thought in your mind about potentially having limited opportunities here with Drew (Brees)? I know you said that was a big part of why you came here. But yeah, we just do not know, maybe this year is his last year, maybe next year, it's just kind of uncertain? In terms of like, maybe this his last time?
"Yeah, I came here to win a Super Bowl. And I came here to experience the Sean Payton, Drew Brees connection. And I knew that it was potentially a year-to-year deal with Drew (Brees). Like I didn't come here saying, oh I'm about to play with Drew (Brees) a long time. I mean, even for myself, we're all pretty much on a one-year deal. And so, it's a situation that, I don't think about it, I don't think about it. I just go with the flow and let the chips fall where they may. And every time I take the field with him it is an honor. And it's a privilege, truthfully, to line up with a guy like that. Sometimes I just sit back and just watch him. How he prepares and he gets himself ready to go, like his tenacity and his aggressiveness, in terms of just his play calling and how he approaches the game. We're talking about a legendary quarterback and the New Orleans Saints are blessed to have a guy like that at quarterback for as long as they've had. And it's been fun to watch, not only as just his teammate, but also just as a player in the NFL and growing up as a kid. And so, to be in this position, to keep making plays for him. Hopefully, if it is his last year, hopefully we can send him out on top."

Coach Payton earlier today mentioned that when he's putting together a roster, there's a certain, I guess, (there's) core things that they're looking for in a player. And I'm curious as a free agent who signed with the team and has gotten to know the locker room. Do you get a sense that, you know, there's like a common, I guess, set of traits among the guys in the locker room? And if so, what are those that you've noticed?
"I think there are no really 'me' guys in the locker room. I think it's a lot of team guys. And I have been enjoying this locker room, we have a lot of different personalities. We've got some people that are quiet, and then when to talk to them you see that they're not so quiet. It's just, they stick to themselves. And then, you've got Cam Jordan who walks up to my locker every day and we're laughing and rolling, stomach hurting and telling jokes. And I got Craig Robertson next to me. And so, I've been having a good time with this entire locker room. I think that as far as personality based, I don't know if they choose a certain personality. But, one thing I do know, all of this starts with Sean Payton and his personality. We've got a head coach who loves ball (and) loves calling plays. Legendary coach, in my opinion. But at the same time, he keeps it light as well, like every now and then, he'll come in and he'll crack a joke and he'll have everybody laughing and everybody rolling. And Sean (Payton), he works hard, but he also likes to have a good time too. So, I think that's just the energy. And not only that, that's the energy of this city as well. I've been fortunate enough to play in Pittsburgh, that's the blue collar city, right, like work hard. And then I went to Denver, and that was laid back, right, just chill. And then I went to San Fran and that's the tech capital. Now I am here in New Orleans, and I see the difference of the entire city affecting the team. And like I said, our head coach is doing the griddy with a pair of Jordan 11s on. That is New Orleans, right? And, it just goes to show that, you know, how cool of a coach Sean Payton is. I can speak on that guy all day, but we all know what he's about."

Obviously, this has been something that you have dealt with all season. But you know, as you go through the regular season, you try to get the best possible seed for home field advantage. And obviously, that looks a little different this year with not having to have a lot of fans there and you having to create your own energy. We've talked about this before, but how do you create your own energy, especially knowing that it's the playoffs? It's win or go home?
"Exactly what you just ended on, right, it is the playoffs and if you have got to search for a certain energy for the playoffs, when it is win or go home, then what are you really doing? And so, it is one of those situations where every play matters (and) every situation matters. It's not even about the energy or anything, it's about going out, executing at a high level and trying to bring a Super Bowl to the city of New Orleans. And the only way that we can do that, is one game at a time. And controlling what we can control. And crowd noise and the COVID protocols and everything that's going on, that's something we can't control. But, what we can control is the X's and O's and executing at a high level."

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