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Sanders on Broncos' youth: 'I understand where we're coming from but we’re good enough to win now'

Receiver Emmanuel Sanders is one of seven holdovers from Broncos' Super Bowl 50 season.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) takes part in drills during an NFL football organized training activity session at the team's headquarters Monday, May 13, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — There are but seven Broncos who just four years ago experienced the elation of winning Super Bowl 50.

Those seven Broncos holdovers are now suffering through what they hope is the organization’s nadir.

Not that anyone should feel sorry for them, the seven holdovers from the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 team – Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr., Emmanuel Sanders, Derek Wolfe, Todd Davis, Jeff Heuerman, Brandon McManus – are all making good money, from McManus’ $3.67 million average salary the past three years to Miller’s $19.625 million average payout the past four years.

But losing still stinks, and it has to stink more for the guys who know what a Super Bowl team looks like. And clearly, that’s not what these seven have with their current Broncos.

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The holdovers have been balancing patience with a stubborn refusal to concede the good ol’ days are no longer in their future.

“You know, we’re young,’’ Sanders said Tuesday. “We’ve got some young guys. Look at Noah Fant, a young guy. I look at Dalton (Risner) – I still look at (Garett) Bolles, he’s young. The year we went to the Super Bowl we had veteran guys even on the special teams. We had older guys on special teams.

“We’re young so I understand that. Yeah, sometimes it can get frustrating because you want to win but at the same time, you’ve got to understand these guys are young and they’ve got to grow to be professional. You don’t step into the NFL and say, ‘Oh yeah, that guy’s a pro.’

“Some people it takes three or four years for them to get in a groove of -- you guys are thinking about football, but these guys are balancing stuff off the field. It’s getting in a rhythm of being a true pro.

“I understand where we’re coming from but at the same time I think we’ve got  a good enough team to win now. We’ve just got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot and I feel like that’s what we’ve been doing.’’

In the past 2-plus seasons, the Broncos have gone 11-24. That’s a long ways from their 15-4 Super Bowl season of 2015.

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“I’m not going to sit up here and be fake with you guys or lie to you guys and say, ‘Oh yeah, we are 0-3, and I’m having the time of my life,’" Sanders said after doubling down on his “world of suck” comment following the Broncos loss at Green Bay on Sunday. “Who does that? I’m a competitor, I love to compete, but at the same time, you guys know me, I’m very positive.

“At the same time, we are living in a world of suck. Living in a world of suck is a military term in which military people say, ‘We’re living in a world of suck, but we’re going to embrace the world of suck.’ Right? And that has always been my mindset. You’re never going to see me say, ‘Oh yeah, times are hard and I give up.’ I’m never going to give up. You guys are going to see me back at it in Empower Field on Sunday trying to get a win and still understanding that we’re an 0-3 football team trying to work ourselves out of a hole, so that’s where I stand.”