Emmanuel Sanders is hinting at retirement, even if his play in 2021 doesn't suggest he should.
The Buffalo Bills wide receiver caught 42 passes for 626 yards and averaged 14.9 yards per catch last season -- a career-best total for the 34-year-old -- as one of Josh Allen's most reliable targets. But while production isn't telling him it might be time to hang it up, something else is: family.
"I've got my son, he's getting older. I've got a daughter getting older. And for the past three years, [I've] been traveling and moving from team to team, trying to win a Super Bowl," Sanders told radio host Colin Cowherd, via si.com. "But I've got some reflecting I want to do and possibly retire. I don't know yet. I'm just feeling it out."
The 12-year veteran needs just 755 more yards to reach 10,000 for his career, but he's lost one of his favorite coaches ever in former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who was hired to be the New York Giants' head coach. He already has one Super Bowl ring, having been a part of the Denver Broncos' victory in Super Bowl 50, and has since played for the San Francisco 49ers (2019), New Orleans Saints (2020), and last year in Buffalo. All three of those teams made at least a two-game playoff run, but came up short of Sanders' ultimate goal. Now, as the Bills' oldest player, he's not sure he has another playoff push to give.
"After the [playoff loss] versus the Chiefs, you know, [quarterback] Josh Allen was like, 'hey, let's run it back.' And I was like, 'man, give me some time to reflect and see how I feel'," Sanders added.
If Sanders does decide to return, he'll need a new contract, as his deal with Buffalo enters a void year in 2022. With a second Super Bowl being his ultimate goal, staying put would certainly be one option as the Bills are primed for continued success. But Sanders revealed he didn't even take the team plane home from the team's heartbreaking overtime playoff loss to the Chiefs. Goodbyes, he said, are hard for him.
And if his comments on his future are any indication, there's a strong chance he's saying goodbye to the game as well.