Chicago Sun-Times

WR Joe Anderson ready to take the ball and run with it

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Joe Anderson.jpgRookie wide receiver Joe Anderson, promoted from the practice squad this week, said he will be active against the Packers on Sunday. And while he likely will be primarily on special teams, the Bears probably can't lose by giving him a play or two at receiver. He's got the right attitude for it.

''When I catch the ball I'm an attack guy,'' said the 6-1, 196-pound Anderson, an undrafted free agent from Texas Southern. '' I try to turn into an Adrian Peterson. I'm not a finesse receiver. I'm very aggressive.

''I'm just a dog -- that's the way I describe my ability on the field. I'm not stepping out of bounds for nobody. I've been in the weight room. I'm very physical. I'll go up and get it. I have a 42-inch vertical. I'll go up and get it if you need to be thrown up like that. Short yardage, I can get the first down. Whatever. I can run routes, 15 yard routes, come out of my break. I can do pretty much anything.''

Anderson is from the same Texarkana, Texas high school that produced former Bears cornerback Nathan Vasher. As a true freshman at Louisiana Tech, he played against current Bears teammates Chris Conte (vs. California) and Craig Steltz (LSU). He played his final three seasons at Texas Southern, where he caught 47 passes for 638 yards and four touchdowns as a senior.

With those numbers, he was a long shot just to make it to training camp. But since catching the eye of coaches in offseason mini-camps he has taken advantage of every opportunity.

''I've been having to prove something to someone all the time,'' Joe told me. '''You're not going to do this.' 'You should look into the Arena League.' Coming out of college people told me, 'Make sure you've got your backup plans' and this and that. 'Don't feel like you're too good for the Canadian League.'

He wasn't buying that.

''I said, 'I want to go to the League,''' Anderson said. ''I didn't grow up saying, 'I want to go to the Canadian League.' I grew up saying, 'I want to go to the NFL' and I meant that. So I'm not going to let someone else tell me, you should try doing this or that. I want to accomplish my goals. People say, 'you should have a back-up plan.' No. Whatever your dream is, you should follow it. Don't listen to nobody else. Whatever you want to be in life, you can be. I"m a prime example.''

At this point, Anderson is just another guy who has to take advantage of a small opportunity or be long gone. But he said his faith and his work ethic has convinced him he's going to follow in the footsteps of other undrafted free agents who have made it, like Giants receiver Victor Cruz and Texans running back Arian Foster. And former Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith, who took a similar route to the NFL -- from Texarkana, Ark. to Missouri Southern to the NFL as an undrafted free agent -- and played 14 years with eight 1,000-yard seasons and 68 touchdown receptions.

''Victor Cruz. Arian Foster,'' Anderson said, ''His rookie season. Undrafted free agent. He spent the whole year on the practice squad, got pulled up for the last three games -- just like me. Rod Smith, the whole year on the practice squad his rookie season. Started out on special teams. Victor Cruz got an opportunity. It's all about opportunity and taking advantage of it. And not looking back. When I see guys like that, there's no reason that can't be me.''

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8 Comments

Joe Anderson comes from a very strong football program at Texarkana, Texas High. In addition to Vasher, Ryan Mallett, and soon to be an NFL player Cobi Hamilton of Ark. went to school there.

I like his attitude already. Hope he gets some playing time. Go Bears.

Did he catch the eye of drake the way Hester did?

I love how hungry this guy is. Take what belongs to you #19!

The "hester project" was all Lovie Smith,Drake had nothing to do with that decision.

Words are cheap. Let's hope his actions support them.

I hope he does AWESOME!!!

Big time player, watch him make big time plays!!

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on December 13, 2012 1:33 PM.

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