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Transcript - Emmanuel Sanders Conference Call 11/05/20 | Week 9 vs. Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on recovering from COVID-19 and the Buccaneers’ defensive unit prior to the Saints Week 9 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 8, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders
Video call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, November 5, 2020

How are you feeling?
"I feel good. Ready to roll."

You said in the podcast, you didn't know how it would go when you were deemed healthy enough to come back. Your fears alleviated there?
"Yeah, I feel good now. Obviously, you hear you've got COVID and it's like, you kind of cross your fingers, right? You don't know how your body is going to react. You may think you may know, but still there is that little voice in the back your head that says shhhh, what if it doesn't, right? And so, that's what I was pretty much talking about on the podcast. Probably about three or four days into it, once my fever cleared, I felt like I could be (here) and so now I'm here talking to you guys."

What does a football player do in the middle of a season when you're confined to the house, I mean, it has to feel so weird?
"The first three or four days I slept. And then after that four days, when I didn't need medicine to fight it, because I had fevers like, for three days I had fevers all day. So I literally just felt like just lay in bed and just sleep, I just slept. And then when it started to clear up like I think that I was like six days that I just had to just watch Netflix and just chill with my wife really and do nothing. I started a show called Schitt's Creek and finished that in like three days. And thank God I had that show because it kind of entertained me and then I started reading a book, I read Matthew McConaughey's book and just found ways to entertain myself and also just found ways to try to get a workout in as will as far as doing pushups and sit ups around the house, hopping in my pool taking a swim. But, I was very conscientious of not working out too hard. Because like I need a rest, right? And so I didn't want to put my body though too much stress, but I knew I had to at least do something."

You mentioned the fever, what were your symptoms like? Was a more like having a bad cold or like having the flu?
"My symptoms was just, I just felt loopy. I felt tired. Like, I had no energy. And then I had a fever. My fever got up to like 102. But after that, there was like three or four days of that, but after that it was smooth. It's just like at nighttime I would get like a little headache every now and then, but that cleared up probably like the sixth day as well."

At what point were you like, okay, I am getting antsy and I am ready to play football again?
"That Sunday when we were getting ready to play Chicago. It was just annoyed because I wanted to play football. I missed the first game and I was like, okay, but then that second game really took a toll on me. I wanted to get back to work and help the guys win. But now, I've got an opportunity Sunday versus a big time opponent in Tampa Bay, and we've got to go out and handle business."

Are you feeling as quick as you were before? Are you feeling in any lag in your body or are you feeling like you're back for real?
"I've been working out since Monday, the moment I was able to get back into the building, the Saints were like, we've got to put you through a ramp up period. So I've been working out. Yesterday, I felt like I was getting back into rhythm and then today I felt like I found my groove. And so looking forward to tomorrow and Saturday, just keep getting better and get my body ready to play on Sunday."

Hopefully this isn't too much of an invasion of your privacy. But I read reports that for NFL teams, they kind of had to have some apartments on standby just in case that anyone had COVID come up, but with you having a family, young kids, was that the case for you? Or were you able to stay at home and around your family?
"No, so my wife, we got the entire family tested after I found out I was positive and then their tests came back the next morning and my wife tested positive. But my kids and my mother in law didn't. So we got them on a private plane and sent them back to our house in Denver while me and my wife quarantined here. That ended up working out, but my daughter tested positive when she was in Denver. Right now, I think they've got like two more days of quarantine and they are going to be able to come back out here. So I am looking forward to that.

Just in football terms. I think maybe you and Mike (Thomas) have played like, I don't maybe 40 snaps on the same field this year. Is there any element of building chemistry between receivers even like just knowing where he's at on the field and then knowing how to play when he's on the field?
"Yeah, obviously, I'm looking forward to get Mike back. You want to talk about the NFL top 100 came out and this guy ranked top five. That lets you know that we've been missing a guy of that caliber for five, six weeks. And so I'm looking forward to him getting back out, not only for me, but for Mike as well. I know he misses the game. And I know the Saints fans miss him as well. He's just adds another element for us. Alvin (Kamara) has been having a great year, but if you combine him and Mike and then plug in myself and Jared Cook and Tre'Quan (Smith), and the rest of the guys, and I just feel like offensively, we can hit another level. So I'm looking forward to seeing it."

What could it do for the kind of looks you'd see playing with Alvin (Kamara) playing at the level he's at. And then Mike comes back and that's someone else you have to pay a lot of attention to.
"With every team, right? I've been on teams where I was the guy, right? And those were more Pro Bowl years, and I've played on teams where I was a role player. And one thing about me is like I'm not concerned about how many times I'm going to touch the ball, how many times I'm going to touch the field, I just know what I can do. And I know if they need me, I feel like I can deliver. I just play my role, obviously, I know like it's AK, It's Mike and then everybody else after that, but my job is to get open and I'm going to be open and on third down, if they want to throw me the ball or anytime they want to go to me, I'm going to be here. So I'm go play my role and I think the best thing is that I've played that role. Like when Mike went down, if my role needed to be okay, try to feel in as a number one receiver and make the plays to get us out of games then I'm going to do that or if not, like if they want me to be number three, whatever, right? I just want to win games. I trust Sean Payton, and what he's doing and everything, so far, so good."

I was just wondering what you've seen from that Tampa secondary on film compared to what you saw from week one.
"They're playing some good ball. They definitely get their hands on the ball. They are playing well together. Antoine Winfield Jr. is playing really well. I think just as an overall defense, they are playing really well. I mean, their linebacker corps is probably the best linebacker corps in the league right now in just how they're playing, right? They have a number one defense in the league right now for a reason and so we've got to go out there and exploit it."

I was wondering what you thought of or what you've kind of come to see as Alvin (Kamara's) kind of ability as a route runner, especially in like those option routes. It seems like he's good for one or two big plays every week.
"Yeah, AK's a beast man. I enjoy watching him. Him, Drew (Brees) and Mike (Thomas) on the field sometimes I find myself becoming a fan even when I'm on the field, just watching how these guys operate. Thank God they're on my side. And so AK's having a terrific year. There's not too many players on the offensive side of the ball that's having a better year than AK. And so that speaks volumes just about his character and what he's about. I enjoy being around him on a daily basis and just watching him go to work and watching his personality. He's one of those guys that when I look in the locker room, and I see 41, I'm happy he's on my team, because I know we've got a better chance of winning with him on the team."

You played last season some with Kwon Alexander. What can you just kind of tell us about him as a teammate?
"Well, is a good teammate, man. I'm looking forward to getting him in the locker room. When I was in San Fran, me and Kwon, we hung out. We spent New Year's together last year and so we spent a lot of time together. When I saw that trade, I was excited because I know what type of player he is. But I also know the type of person is. He is going to fit right into this locker room."

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