SANTA CLARA – Veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders finished lunch on his first full day with the 49ers and tried to enter his new locker room inside Levi's Stadium.
The only problem was the fingerprint sensor outside the 49ers' locker room did not allow him to gain entry into his new work place. OK, so the transition from the Denver Broncos to the 49ers was not perfect.
But Sanders certainly was not complaining Wednesday after the 49ers acquired him and a fifth-round draft pick for draft selections in the third and fourth rounds. Sanders gained four wins in the standings, going from the Broncos (2-5) to the 49ers (6-0).
“I needed a change of scenery, and it feels good to have a change of scenery,” said Sanders, 32, a 10-year NFL veteran. “What a great locker room the 49ers have here, and I just want to bring even more positive energy and bring another spark to this offense.”
Sanders said he and Broncos general manager John Elway came to an understanding after Denver’s Week 6 victory against the Tennessee Titans that it would be in the best interest of both sides if a trade were to happen before the Oct. 29 deadline.
“I only have two more years left, or three more years left of playing football, and I’m trying to win a championship,” Sanders said. “Obviously, they have a young locker room over there, and we both made the decision if a trade comes about, he would keep me posted and possibly trade me.”
Sanders arrived in the Bay Area around 9 p.m. on Tuesday and studied his new offense for approximately 2 ½ hours with 49ers wide receivers coach Wes Welker, a teammate during their time together with the Broncos.
Sanders said he is looking forward to fitting into Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system. He has familiarity with the scheme from Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, who served the past two seasons as the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach.
After passing a physical at 5 a.m., Sanders took part in a wide receivers meeting at 7:20 a.m. Then, he went onto the field for his first walk-through practice with his new teammates, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I feed off energy, and his energy is definitely contagious,” Sanders said.
Sanders, who will be wearing No. 17 (his college number at SMU), will be active for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium. He said he expects to develop an immediate connection with his new quarterback.
“I just got to do my job, right? He has to do his job,” Sanders said. “I feel like sometimes you can put a lot of emphasis chemistry, but at the end of the day, if it’s an 18-yard comeback and I get to 18 and I come back down on my stem, and he’s throwing the ball where the ball is supposed to be, I think it’s should just naturally happen.
“It shouldn’t take too long for it to happen. I’ve been talking to Jimmy. Based off this system with Kyle, I feel like if we work at it, we can be successful in this system together.”
The 49ers’ decision to acquire Sanders is a signal the team expects to win this season. Sanders is signed through only the remainder of the season. He said at the end of the season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, he will be looking for a spot where he can win.
“Once I become a free agent, yeah, it’s going to factor in a lot,” Sanders said about signing with an organization where he expects to compete for a championship. “Obviously, a lot of people don’t understand, yeah, the money is good. I got a lot of things, and my fair share of that, but it’s about happiness.
“It’s about happiness. It’s about, is it worth it? For me, if I’m just playing for the money, and we’re talking about longevity and life, it’s not worth it for me. I love playing football. I love being happy. I love winning games. And I think that’s going to be the ultimate deciding factor in where I go.”