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Emmanuel Sanders claims Manning is a better leader than former QB Roethlisberger

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 (R) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders #88 during first half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 (R) of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders #88 during first half of the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The season has yet to start, and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has already started taking shots.

The latest comes from his former teammate Emmanuel Sanders. Now a member of the Denver Broncos, Sanders sat down with “The Drive” radio show on Denver’s KKFM and did not pull any punches when comparing his former QB, with his current one (Peyton Manning), according to NFL.com on Monday.

"From a mental standpoint, I don't care to really say this, but I feel Peyton is a far better leader," said Sanders. "In terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him and things of that sort.”

Sanders spent his first four seasons in the NFL catching passes from Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, accumulating 2,030 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. He played in all 16 games last season (starting 10), catching 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns. He left the Steel City this offseason, signing a three-year contract with the Broncos.

Roethlisberger enjoyed a solid season last year, throwing for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions. That being said, his numbers were dwarfed by Manning’s, who was named the league’s MVP for a record fifth time.

"I've got so much love for Big Ben, he's helped me out tremendously in so many ways," said Sanders. "On and off the field, he's made me a better player. But at the same time, I'm not gonna lie, I'm happy to be a part of this organization. I'm happy to have Peyton Manning as my quarterback."

Now 38, Manning threw for an NFL-record 5,477 yards last season, to go along with 55 touchdowns (also a league record). His work ethic is now infamous, as are his leadership skills, mental preparation and astute attention to detail.