After whirlwind 2018 season, Anderson moves on to Detroit
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — C.J. Anderson has played in three Super Bowls and won one, the type of success that might feel like a different galaxy to Detroit fans.
In fact, the 28-year-old running back has appeared in eight postseason games — only two fewer than the Lions have played since Anderson was born.
“It’s kind of all I know, I guess you can say. Only had one losing season in my career,” Anderson said Friday. “Playing in those environments, in those tough games, and understanding what needs to be accomplished and what needs to be done, is great.”
The Lions hope they can help add to Anderson’s postseason resume after signing him as a free agent this offseason. Detroit is coming off a 6-10 season, but the running game was an area of improvement in 2018 thanks to rookie Kerryon Johnson. Now Anderson arrives after spending time with three franchises last season, eventually landing with the Los Angeles Rams and helping them reach the Super Bowl.
Anderson spent his first five NFL seasons with Denver. The Broncos lost in the Super Bowl to Seattle when he was a rookie, then made it back two years later and beat Carolina. He rushed for a career-high 1,007 yards in 2017 for the Broncos, then signed with Carolina.
He played only nine games with the Panthers, receiving 24 carries while Carolina leaned increasingly on Christian McCaffrey in the backfield. After the Panthers released him in mid-November, Anderson was actually without a team for a few weeks.
“I love football, so watching the game just like you. Watching the game, trying to break down the game, understand the game,” he said. “I enjoy the game, whether I’ve got a job or not. I’ve done a lot of great things in my career and saved up enough money, if that didn’t come, I’ll be fine.”
Anderson had tryouts with Kansas City and Detroit, then signed with Oakland. But he never played in a game for the Raiders, who waived him after about a week. Anderson then caught on with the Rams and showed he could still contribute.
He rushed for 167 yards in his first appearance for Los Angeles, then 132 in the regular-season finale against San Francisco. In his new team’s playoff opener against Dallas, Anderson ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Anderson says after he worked out for the Lions last season, general manager Bob Quinn indicated that Detroit might be interested in him in the future.
“Bob pretty much told me that he’ll come get me back during free agency. He was a man of his word,” Anderson said. “I went on with the Rams, had fun, and then the first call I got was the Lions.”
It’s not clear how big a role Anderson will have with Detroit. Expectations are high for Johnson in his second season, and Theo Riddick has been productive as a pass catcher and a rusher.
Anderson said what appealed about Detroit was the coaching staff. Matt Patricia is in his second year with the Lions, and although his debut season didn’t go well, Anderson is familiar with what Patricia did as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt. Me and him had a lot of battles. When I signed, we talked maybe for an hour just about our New England-Denver days — more on our wins than his wins,” Anderson said. “We just talked about different things that he’s done to confuse me or different things I’ve done that he’d never seen from me, that confuse him. We spent a lot there, and I think that continuity makes it comfortable.”
NOTES: Patricia said before practice Friday that DT A’Shawn Robinson has been excused for a personal matter and will be back shortly.
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