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Mr. Laz
07-07-2005, 04:49 PM
Healthy body, healthy attitude for Anderson
Running back eager to return as lead ballcarrier

By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
July 7, 2005

ENGLEWOOD - These days, the numbers simply swirl around Mike Anderson.

The Denver Broncos running back missed 17 games last season because of two torn left groin muscles. He will be 32 in September. He is almost five years removed from a 1,487-yard rushing season in 2000 that earned him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

And now, even as Anderson basks in the happiness of being able to return from an injury that kept him on the sideline for an entire season, he finds himself trying to regain what he once had at one of the Broncos' most crowded roster positions.

"But I'm up for it," Anderson said Wednesday. "I feel refreshed. Rejuvenated. I guess with the year off I was able to get some rest. The knees stopped throbbing a little bit. What can I say? It is tough. I can already see it.

"But I'm up for that challenge."

After spending most of his time at fullback the past three seasons, Anderson was told by the Broncos at the end of the 2004 season to concentrate on playing running back this time around, certainly the news he had been hoping for as he tried to return from the injury.

On the flip side, however, while he is the only runner in the group with a 1,000-yard rushing season on his NFL résumé, Anderson finds himself in a tightly contested race to carry the football.

There is so much competition that Reuben Droughns, who led the team with 1,240 rushing yards last season, essentially was told he was headed back to fullback before he was traded to the Cleveland Browns to quench his desire for more playing time.

Tatum Bell, the Broncos' leading returning rusher with 396 yards in 2004, and Anderson likely will begin training camp getting the most work with the offensive starters.

But there also is Quentin Griffin, who began 2004 as the starter before suffering a season-ending right knee injury; Ron Dayne, a Heisman Trophy winner and New York Giants first-round pick; and Maurice Clarett, a third-round pick in the April draft.

"And you really don't have a pecking order," coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday, the first of three days of the team's final minicamp of the off-season. "You give people as many reps as you can and once you go through the preseason games and practices, you try to figure out who is the best player."

So while there is plenty in all of that for Anderson to have some vocational worries, he said he still is trying to enjoy every minute of the chase.

Since his injury in the waning minutes of the Broncos' preseason game against the Houston Texans on Aug. 27 - because the team had suffered some injuries, Anderson was forced to play on the punt team late in the fourth quarter after he thought he was done - Anderson said he has contemplated just how quickly a football career can end.

"You're one play from losing a season or losing your career," Anderson said. "Have it taken away from you and not from your own standpoint, not from you doing it - a freak accident. . . . But I don't like to think about it, I don't like to talk about it. To me, that was last year. The injury is done and over with - I'm back.

"Right now, (young players) think you're so invincible you think you can run through a wall and nothing is going to happen to you. So you don't even think about (injuries). But when it happens to you and then you get all that time to reflect and look back - What if I would have done this? Or done that? - you get a new feeling for the game."

Shanahan said Anderson had progressed far enough in rehabilitation late last season that, had the running back not already been on the injured reserve list, he likely would have played in the Broncos' loss against the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card game in January.

"He looks good . . . ," Shanahan said. "The recovery has been strong. Hopefully, there's no setback and he can stay injury-free."

Anderson's advantage over his teammates now is that, while Bell has the kind of big-play speed Shanahan wants, Anderson has shown himself to consistently be the kind of tough, inside runner that keeps drives moving.

And during the 2004 preseason, six days before he was injured, Anderson rushed for 120 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. That, he said, showed he still has what it takes to be included in the Broncos' running back mix.

"We've got some nice, top-quality backs this year," Anderson said. "You take it from the top to bottom, look at it. . . . But to be able to come back, it's a blessing, a blessing. You've got to enjoy it."



legwoldj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2359

Rausch
07-07-2005, 04:58 PM
Bell has good speed but hasn't really impressed me that much. Anderson has always impressed me with his running and his attitude.

Wish he wasn't a donk...

SoCalBronco
07-07-2005, 05:38 PM
Anderson doesnt have a chance in hell of beating out Bell.

Rausch
07-07-2005, 05:51 PM
Anderson doesnt have a chance in hell of beating out Bell.

Nevermind. For some reason I thought of "Q" when I heard Bell. Frankly, I don't know how well Bell has done since drafted...

Taco John
07-07-2005, 05:53 PM
Unless injured, Bell will win the spot... Anderson will see plenty of carries though...

penchief
07-07-2005, 06:06 PM
I've had a real distaste for Anderson since he basically called the Chiefs a bunch of pussies. The Mares got beat by us and he tried to turn it around by saying we were a bunch of wimps that got lucky because they let us win. I thought that was kinda' weak.

Miles
07-07-2005, 08:30 PM
The Ruben Droughns of 2000.

chief4life
07-07-2005, 10:01 PM
WooWoo

the Talking Can
07-07-2005, 10:32 PM
he's the next Barry Sanders?

Spicy McHaggis
07-07-2005, 11:33 PM
Anderson has lost his second-level burst.

chagrin
07-08-2005, 08:00 AM
The Ruben Droughns of 2000.

who was the Mike Anderson of 2004, who was the Olandis Gary of 2000, who was the....uh, whatever

Miles
07-08-2005, 09:15 AM
who was the Mike Anderson of 2004, who was the Olandis Gary of 2000, who was the....uh, whatever

Gary was the original.

Brock
07-08-2005, 09:25 AM
Unless injured, Bell will win the spot... Anderson will see plenty of carries though...

Not even of a mention of Barry Sanders reincarnated?

Fried Meat Ball!
07-08-2005, 09:33 AM
Not even of a mention of Barry Sanders reincarnated?

Can't you read?

he's the next Barry Sanders?