Emmanuel Sanders' 49ers stint was short, but the Bay still holds a special place for the former wide receiver.
Speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area's Jennifer Lee Chan on the NFL Honors red carpet Thursday night, Sanders shared that he wishes he'd spent more time with San Francisco.
"Some days I wake up, I'm like, 'Man, I probably should have spent an extra two or three years out there in the Bay,' because it was fun while I was out there," Sanders said.
Sanders' lone 49ers season was a successful one, despite him coming to the Bay in a trade from the Denver Broncos midway through the 2019 campaign.
Sanders caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. More importantly, he helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl LIV, which they lost 31-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Despite his short stay, Sanders still keeps in touch with various 49ers, including star wideout Deebo Samuel. Sanders shared that he FaceTimed Samuel after this season's NFC Championship Game, and the two discussed San Francisco's future.
"So it was sad to go out that way, and you know, 'OK, we're looking forward to next year,' but you never know what might happen next year," Sanders said. "So, when you get that opportunity, you want to take advantage of it."
Now an analyst for NFL Network, Sanders believes the 49ers are "set to win" for a long time, health permitting, under coach Kyle Shanahan, whom he believes is a "Hall of Famer."
"They got playmakers all over in Trent Williams, two young quarterbacks that's really good, they got receivers all over, [George] Kittle, they got a nice defense," Sanders added. "I think the Niners are set for a nice little ride, and truthfully, I'm in love with Niner Nation. Bang, bang, Niner gang."
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As the 35-year-old enjoys retirement and his time away from the field, it's clear he misses being in the Bay Area. And it's almost assured that the 49er Faithful misses Sanders to some degree, too.