Anderson on Jets standing behind him: ‘I owe them the world’
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Robby Anderson has had a rough year, generating the type of headlines no one wants their name attached to — let alone an up-and-coming NFL player.
The New York Jets wide receiver was arrested twice during a nine-month span in Florida. While charges were dropped in one case, Anderson still faces a misdemeanor reckless driving charge in the other.
“It’s been a lot of growth,” Anderson said of his tumultuous last several months. “I’ve had to overcome adversity. But I feel like it’s made me stronger and I didn’t let it define my vision or my goals.”
The 25-year-old Anderson spoke to the media for the first time this offseason, and expressed thanks to the Jets for standing behind him during his legal troubles.
“That means the world to me,” he said. “It just motivates me more and I really owe them the world. That’s why I’m working hard and giving it my all because I know they believe in me and I know they’re behind me through whatever.”
Anderson could still face discipline from the NFL under its conduct policy, but he remains optimistic he won’t be suspended by the league.
“Not to my concern yet,” Anderson said. “Once my other case gets settled, I know my lawyer informed me that we’ll have a conversation with the league about that.”
Anderson set career highs with 63 catches, 941 yards receiving and seven touchdowns last year, his second NFL season. But the off-field issues have led to some questions about his character and long-term well-being — and whether this is a developing pattern of behavior.
Anderson was arrested in May 2017 at a Miami music festival and charged with felony resisting an officer with violence. Police accused Anderson of pushing an officer after the wide receiver was involved in a fight with security personnel, but the charge was dropped.
On Jan. 19 in Sunrise, Florida, Anderson was charged on nine counts, including a felony charge of fleeing and eluding police with lights and sirens active. Eight of the charges were dropped, and the original felony was reduced to misdemeanor reckless driving on April 7, and his next hearing is scheduled for July 19. A felony charge of threatening a public servant or family member had been dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
“The truth always comes to the light,” Anderson said. “My other case is still pending, so I’m not going to get into details about that.”
Anderson said he communicated directly with coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan after each incident, so the team immediately knew about the circumstances and weren’t blindsided. The wide receiver didn’t fear for his roster spot because of that, and added that speaking to Bowles “wasn’t a tough conversation.”
“Me and him, we keep it real with each other, man to man,” Anderson said, “and we see eye to eye.”
Bowles, as is the rest of the franchise, is hoping Anderson is putting his off-field issues behind him.
“Time will tell,” Bowles said. “You can get to be a better person and he’s got to be consistent at it, and he’s working at it. So, we go from there.”
Added Anderson: “I mean, that’s the goal in life. As you get older, you always want to mature and grow. That’s my vision, that’s my goal and that’s what I’m working toward. I’ve seen myself, I’ve grown a lot and overcame a lot of situations. It’s just staying focused on what’s important.”
Anderson was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Temple in 2016, and he made the opening week roster with an outstanding training camp. He is quickly developing into one of the top young deep threats in the league.
But he also recognizes the need to make better choices off the field, and trying to make sure he doesn’t put himself in similar situations moving forward.
“That’s not me, not the place for me,” he said. “I’m an NFL football player, so I’m doing everything in my power to avoid anything that even gets me close to those situations.”
Anderson was also asked if he felt embarrassed in any way by how he represented the organization because of the arrests.
“I apologized for, in particular, being in those situations, but the certain situation that’s still pending I’m not going to speak about, but the other situation before, I didn’t do anything wrong,” Anderson said. “The truth came out.
“I was proven innocent and the charges were dropped, so I’m sorry that that happened, but they know that.”