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Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers talk extension

The Pittsburgh Steelers did enough to keep Emmanuel Sanders around for this season, and now they're thinking long term.

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The fourth-year wide receiver told KDKA-FM on Thursday that after matching his one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet from the New England Patriots, the Steelers have opened talks with Sanders about a new contract.

"Of course, and those conversations are going on right now," said Sanders, who insists he never stopped thinking about himself as a member of the Black and Gold despite a high-stakes game of chicken that nearly sent him to Foxborough.

"The whole time I was thinking, I'm still a Pittsburgh Steeler, I was still out here in Pittsburgh," Sanders said. "It definitely came down to the wire around about (that) four o'clock, five o'clock area (on the April 14 deadline). I really started thinking like, 'OK, maybe they won't match the tender, I've got to be out in New England tomorrow, so should I start packing? Should I not start packing?' "

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Losing Sanders would have left Ben Roethlisberger with Antonio Brown and a handful of projects to throw to. The quarterback lobbied the Steelers to re-sign Sanders, and his voice was heard. The Steelers historically don't do business with players who aren't on hand, but now there's plenty of time to hammer out a deal. Sanders isn't sweating it.

"You guys keep talking about the contract," he said. "You guys won't let the contract go, but you know, at the end of the day, I'm telling you that I'm honest when I say I'm not worried about a contract. The contracts will come."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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