It was just last season that running back C.J. Anderson ran for more than 1,000 yards with the Denver Broncos.
Yet Anderson found himself unemployed last month when the Carolina Panthers released him.
In nine games with Carolina, Anderson had just 24 carries for 104 yards. On a team with versatile Christian McCaffrey as the No. 1 back – and playing most of the snaps – and quarterback Cam Newton getting a lot of designed carries, too, Anderson didn’t have much of a role and was cut loose on Nov. 13.
Now, after being signed this week by the Oakland Raiders, Anderson, who grew up in the Bay Area and played for Cal, will get a chance to prove he still deserves a job in the NFL.
“We’ll just take it one day at a time,” Anderson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. “Right now I’ve got four weeks. Just trying to put my best foot forward, trying to help this team win some games. That’s the No. 1 goal.”
With Doug Martin nursing an injury – and his status uncertain for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers – Anderson was signed as insurance, and should see action as part of the running back rotation.
The 5-foot-8, 225-pounder is known for his hard-running style over his five seasons with the Broncos. In the past, he's played well vs. Oakland. Last season in Denver’s 16-10 win over the Raiders in October, Anderson had 95 yards rushing and four catches for 17 yards.
Anderson said several other teams were interested in signing him, including the Chiefs, but he wanted to play for head coach Jon Gruden.
“Just the energy,” Anderson said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for (Gruden) – super smart. That goes a long way. I’ve been on three different teams now, and I’ve had a lot of different coaching staffs. Finding smart coaches helps players a lot, and that was one of the decisions.”
Anderson joins a running back corps of Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington (with Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve).
Sunday’s game between the 2-10 Raiders and 7-4-1 Steelers in Oakland is set for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff.