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Super Bowl 50 star C.J. Anderson announces retirement

The former Broncos running back made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and had a 1,000-yard season in 2017. Now, Anderson says he's moving on to college coaching.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson celebrates after he ran for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — C.J. Anderson -- a Broncos’ running back who was once a 1,000-yard rusher, a Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl 50 hero, and one of their more popular players among fans from 2013-17 -- has officially announced his retirement as a player.

“It was a great run,’’ Anderson said in a phone interview with 9NEWS. “I had a blast. Just the way the situation fell, I had an opportunity to go into coaching. It’s time for the next chapter.’’

Anderson said he is going to coach for a Power 5 program that he didn’t disclose, “and work my up. You know my offensive mind. I want to be a head coach someday, coach at the highest level. You know my offensive mind. I learned from some of the best. (Gary) Kubiak, Goose (Adam Gase), (Sean) McVay, E (running backs coach Eric Studesville), Norv (Turner), even V.J. (Vance Joseph).

“Played with some great quarterbacks, Peyton, Brock (Osweiler), Trev (Siemian), Cam (Newton), Matt (Stafford), Jared (Goff).

“I want to pass all the knowledge I’ve acquired on to the next generation.’’

Anderson, 29, was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted rookie out of Cal in 2013. A fine performance in the preseason opener earned him a spot on the 53-man roster, although he didn’t play much that year. He didn’t play much in the first half of 2014, either, until he took a check-down pass from Peyton Manning in a November game at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Anderson caught the ball in the left flat and wound up cutting clear across to the right side of the field before going in with a 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

Asked to quickly name his three top career highlights, Anderson picked that moment for No. 1.

“My first career touchdown,’’ he said. “Came against the Raiders in my hometown in front of 60 friends and family members.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) runs past Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) to score on a 51-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

“Two, the snow game.”

Ah yes, the late-November 2015 home game against the New England Patriots. Anderson rushed for 113 yards on just 15 carries with 48 coming off a jaunt around left end for a walk-off touchdown – through the snow -- in overtime.

“That helped put us in the Super Bowl,’’ he said. “And then of course, the Super Bowl. Scoring a touchdown and winning a ring.”

Anderson rushed for 90 yards in Super Bowl 50, including the championship-clinching 2-yard touchdown with 3:08 left in the game.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) breaks free for the game-winning touchdown against the New England Patriots during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Denver. The Broncos defeated the Patriots 30-24. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos’ C.J. Anderson (22) scores a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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“Three, in 2018, signing with the Rams on a Tuesday, practicing Wednesday through Friday, and then rushing for 167 in the game on Sunday,’’ he said. “You should have seen the text I got from Sean McVay the night before. He talked about how well I prepared. It brought tears to eyes.”

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams running back C.J. Anderson (35) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Deone Bucannon (20) and Arizona Cardinals defensive back David Amerson defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

There’s his quick three.

“But I have to say making the Pro Bowl after basically playing 8 games (in 2014) was a big highlight for me,’’ Anderson said. “I got votes from my peers. That meant a lot. I got there as an alternate, but I got there.”

Anderson also had a 1,000-yard season in 2017. And then to make room for rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, Anderson was released by the Broncos late in the spring of 2018 – a month after free agency when most teams had already filled their positions of need and used up their budget.

Anderson wound up rushing for only 446 yards on 83 carries (5.4 yards per carry) for Carolina, Detroit and the Rams in the next two seasons. He rushed for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns on 4.4 yards per carry in five seasons with the Broncos.

A season-by-season look at Anderson’s time with the Broncos:

Yr …..……… C ……... Y … Y/C … TD .… Rec … Y … TD

2013 …….… 7 ….… 38 … 5.4 ..… 0 ……. 0 ….… 0 ... 0

2014 …… 179 ..… 849 … 4.7 …. 8 ….. 34 … 324 … 2

2015 …… 152 ….. 720 … 4.7 .… 5 ….. 25 … 183 … 0

2016 …… 110 ..… 437 … 4.0 .… 4 ….. 16 … 128 … 1

2017 …… 245 … 1007 … 4.1 .… 3 …… 28 … 224 … 1

Totals … 693 … 3051 … 4.4 … 20 … 103 … 859 … 4

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