DENVER -- Emmanuel Sanders was on the move Wednesday. As he drove, he spoke a thanks emoji into the phone.
He is going places. Specifically Orlando, Fla., for which he received congratulations. The NFL named Sanders as an injury replacement for Oakland's Amari Cooper in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. Sanders has earned a berth in the game twice in three seasons with the Broncos.
Since joining Denver as a free agent prior to the 2014 campaign -- he spurned the Kansas City Chiefs -- Sanders ranks among the league leaders. He is one of eight active NFL players with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He caught 79 passes for 1,032 yards in 2016. He also posted single-game Broncos' bests this year in receptions (11 at Tennessee) and yards (162 vs. Kansas City).
The Broncos identified Sanders as a core player. Denver awarded the former Southern Methodist star a three-year, $33-million contract extension with $27 million guaranteed prior to the season. As the Broncos transition to a more uptempo attack, Sanders and Demaryius Thomas will be counted on to assume large roles. They represent the seventh receiving duo in NFL history with three straight seasons of each eclipsing 1,000 yards.
Sanders appeared in the Pro Bowl 2014. He joins four Broncos defenders this season: Von Miller, Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib and Darian Stewart.