C.J. Anderson knows his Oakland Raiders history.
Signed by the Silver and Black Wednesday, the Vallejo, Calif., native now gets a chance to return to Northern California, and continue his NFL career with his hometown team, and for a guy who grew up rooting on the Raiders teams of the early-2000’s, it’s an opportunity he’s not taking lightly.
“I grew up in the Coliseum, came to a lot of games, screaming chants and everything,” said Anderson. “So I know all about the history.”
From those teams that Anderson grew up watching, two players on the offensive side of the football stand above the rest, and shocker, they’re both running backs.
“Charlie Garner was mine when he moved over from the 49ers,” Anderson said when asked about his favorite Raiders. “I loved Charlie a lot, a couple of them though. Kaufman. Loved Napoleon. Napoleon was a good back here. You start getting on the defensive side. I loved [Greg] Biekert. Of course, ‘Woody’ [Charles Woodson]. I can go down the list.”
The Super Bowl champion running back now joins a Raiders backfield that has actually run the ball pretty effectively as of late – they’ve eclipsed 100 rushing yards on the ground two of their last three outings – but as is the case for many teams around the league, headed into the final stretch of the regular season, the Raiders needed to add another healthy body to the roster.
“He’s been a good player for a long time,” Head Coach Jon Gruden said of Anderson. “Doug Martin hurt his knee and we’re not 100 percent sure about his status for the game, although we think he’ll be good to go. We can’t take any precautions. We’ve got four games left to play and the Steelers blitz almost every play. We needed a back. Fortunately for us, C.J. Anderson was available and we’re happy to have him.”
“He’s a guy that obviously gets here early and is trying to figure things out, trying to learn protections and all those kind of things,” added quarterback Derek Carr. “Running, I guess, is easy for those guys. It’s the pass game and figuring out those things. I love him and I’m glad that we have him. He’s a good football player.”
As both Gruden and Carr alluded, Anderson has indeed been a good back since wrapping up his college career just up the road at Cal; he’s earned a trip to the Pro Bowl, eclipsed the 1,000-yushing yard mark in a season, and won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.
“We’re all happy. Good decision. Good organization,” Anderson explained. “Obviously grew up here. Grew up in this stadium, and the last time I was here, I think Tim Brown and Bobby Brooks was going through camp, so a long time ago. It feels good to just have another opportunity to play football and do what I love to do.”
Anderson spent nine games this season with the Carolina Panthers before eventually getting waived November 12, and during the few weeks he was on the street he had numerous offers on the table, but ultimately decided to join the Silver and Black – in large part to the presence of Jon Gruden.
“I have a lot of respect for him, super smart,” Anderson explained. “Super smart, and that goes a long way. I’ve been on three different teams now, had a bunch of different coaching staffs. Finding smart coaches, I think that helps players a lot, and that was one of the decisions… Obviously, I went to Detroit. I went to Kansas City. I had some teams that were going to wait until the end of this week to see what they were going to do with me, some playoff teams, but when I sat back and thought about this, and this opportunity came up, I thought it was a good one.”
The Raiders return to the practice field to prepare for their Week 14 matchup against the Pittsburg Steelers.
Anderson and the Raiders now have a few days to prepare for their Week 14 clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and while it’s unclear of how much the veteran running back will play come Sunday, it sounds like he’ll be ready to go if called upon.
“Right now, just getting acclimated with the playbook as much as I can, and the good thing is there’s a lot of crossover from what I’m used to doing,” Anderson said. “Good thing is, I know it’s a West Coast system, so the terminology is different, tomato, tomato, right? Just heavily diving into the playbook, but that should be picked up fairly soon.”