JACKSONVILLE – Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver
“I will not be doing the majority of training camp; I have some personal issues that I am dealing with. I’m trying to get everything straightened out. It’s been a really, really tough road for me these last couple of months and I’ve just been dealing with a lot of stuff with life, and family and a lot of issues going on,” Sanders said during a media conference call Tuesday evening.
The conference call came nearly an hour after the Jaguars announced that Sanders had been placed on the active/non-football injury/illness list.
“I will probably be facing a four-game suspension as well, and I’d just really rather everybody hear that from me first before hearing it from anybody else just so I can just get everything out there in the open and let everyone know I am taking full responsibility for all my actions, everything that I did,” Sanders added.
Sanders did not announce the specific reasoning behind the suspension or his absence, calling it “really personal” and adding that “I’d really rather not get into all of that at the moment.”
A suspension has not been announced by the league. He would be able to participate in training camp practices and preseason games.
“I just really wanted to let the fan base know, let my family know, let Mr. Shad Khan, (General Manager) Dave Caldwell and (Head) Coach Gus (Bradley) and all my teammates know that I am truly sorry for what has happened,” Sanders said.
“Sometimes life hits, and it hits hard. I’ve made some mistakes that I do regret, that I do honestly regret.”
Sanders said that at first, he was nervous about how the Jaguars’ football leadership would react, but understands they have his best interest in mind.
“They were just really supportive of everything just because they’ve been with me every step of the way. They know everything that’s going on with me and it just really showed me how much they really care as an organization and as people in general.”
In his rookie season of 2013, Sanders made 51 receptions for 484 yards with one touchdown and threw a touchdown pass during the Week 14 win over the Houston Texans while playing multiple wide receiver positions.
He also added 25 punt returns for 140 yards (5.6 average) last season and is expected to compete as the leading punt returner for 2014.
Sanders said that even though his announcement of a pending suspension came before the league’s, that he does not expect the possible four-game ban to be shortened.
“The league doesn’t allow that.” Sanders said. “This (announcement) is something I felt I needed to do.”
“I’m just trying to be a better person and a better teammate for everybody that’s around me. I’ve decided to go seek that help, get that attention that I need. Hopefully somebody can help me out and I should be OK, I should be fine. That’s my sole focus is just to get better and to be ready to play.”