BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – C.J. Anderson was on a stage with a microphone in his hand, addressing Harvard students in the graduate of education program.
That's right, Harvard. Wasn’t Anderson a little intimidated about speaking to all those intellectuals?
‘’Not at all,’’ Anderson said during a reprieve this week from his Super Bowl LII radio row commitments here this week. “I believe I’m an intellectual myself.’’
Anderson is a smart football player, one reason why he got enough playing time to amass 1,007 yards rushing this season. He’s also a strong runner with vision.
But an intellectual? We put him to the test.
How does he answer all the questions he’s received about whether he will be back playing with the Broncos next season?
“I’m still under contract for two more years,’’ Anderson said. “That’s how I answer it. I’ve never left. I can’t come back if I never left. People think I have to sign a new deal. That’s not the case.’’
Can’t come back if he never left. Smart answer.
Anderson is midway through a four-year contract that paid him $6 million in 2016 and $3 million in 2017. He is scheduled to make $4.5 million in each of his next two seasons with the Broncos, with none of that money guaranteed.
Let’s try again. Anderson has spoken out in support of the Broncos going after soon-to-be free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins. Brandon Marshall and Von Miller have done the same.
But isn’t stating a strong desire to sign Cousins in turn taking a jab at the Broncos’ current three quarterbacks: Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler?
“I don’t think it’s any different than if guys were saying, ‘Let’s go get Le’Veon Bell,’’ Anderson said, referring to the Steelers’ star running back. “The (quarterback) position had its ups and downs last year, which you saw when we played three different guys. That’s not to say those three guys we have now can’t have a helluva season this season, too.
“Do you take your chances on that? I don’t know, but we just have a lot of respect for Kirk Cousins and his game. We know having him would be a huge up. He’d make any offense better.’’
Another smart answer.
Truth is, Anderson had already long passed the test set by Harvard. He spoke about how he made it big despite growing up in a poor, rough neighborhood of Vallejo, Calif. How he made the first step to junior college, then as a backup running back at Cal, then as an undrafted NFL player before becoming a 1,000-yard rusher.
And then turning around and giving back to his hometown by ambitiously planning to build a youth academic and athletic facility in Vallejo.
“It was an awesome experience,’’ Anderson said of speaking at Harvard last week. “I talked to about 245 people who listened to my speech about the foundation. I got a lot of good feedback. Got about 28 or 29 e-mails from people who wanted to be a part of what we’re doing in Vallejo that we followed up on.’’