But he showed enough in the offseason and that game to earn a spot on the Broncos’ 53-man roster to open the season.
“I’m just excited, to be honest. Very happy and blessed,” Anderson said. “I’m glad I had this opportunity and I’ll move on from here and I’m not finished – continue to grind and stay in the playbook. When I come back, I’ll be ready to go.”
It was a tough wait for Anderson as the team made its first round of cuts on Friday.
“Long,” Anderson said when asked how his Friday was. “My phone was on loud on the first time – which, that never happens, it’s always on silent. (laughing) It was on loud the first time. I got two scared calls, it was my mom and my uncle wondering what was going on. But (Running Backs) Coach (Eric Studesville) texted me and when I got the text, I was so excited.”
In his lone preseason appearance, Anderson rushed for a game-high 69 yards on 15 carries, good for an average of 4.6 yards per attempt.
That performance was enough for Anderson to finish third on the team in rushing yards and second in yards-per-carry this preseason.
“It’s been crazy – I came in as un undrafted and had a good camp and played well in the first preseason game,” Anderson said. “I’m glad I did enough and I’m glad to get an opportunity here.”
Anderson rushed for 1,135 yards on 198 carries (5.7 avg.) and 12 touchdowns in two seasons at Cal, adding 22 receptions for 350 yards and two scores. He began his college career at Laney College, where he earned first-team All-America honors and led the NorCal Conference in rushing during the 2010 season, racking up 1,644 yards and 13 touchdowns on 206 attempts (8.0 avg.).
He becomes the 13th college free agent to make the Broncos’ 53-man roster out of training camp during the team’s current decade-long streak of having an undrafted player make the team out of camp.
Denver’s streak, which has now hit 10 years, was tied for the third longest in the league entering 2013.
Including Anderson, the Broncos’ Week 1 roster includes five players who made the team as a college free agent.
While his knee injury hasn’t fully healed, Anderson is doing what he can with his rehab work to return to the field healthy as soon as possible.
“I’m attacking the rehab the same as I was attacking the football field when I was practicing and playing in the preseason game,” Anderson said.
“It’s actually feeling very, very good,” he continued. “I was excited when I got off crutches and out of that brace because I felt like for a week that I didn’t need them. But I’m listening to my trainers. (Head Athletic Trainor Steve Antonopulos) ‘Greek’ has been here for many, many years so he knows what he’s doing and he knows what he’s talking about. I’m just going to continue to rehab strong and continue to get back and slowly in to it. We don’t want any setbacks when I get out there so I can be ready to go.”
Until then, Anderson is focusing on helping his fellow teammates get ready for the season opener against Baltimore and preparing mentally as if he were going to play.
“Now it’s just time to get to work and do what I can with my eyes,” Anderson said. “As far as Baltimore, do what I can with my eyes, watching film. Letting my backs know what I see, and on Thursday night, let them know what I see – actually, physically – in the game. Hopefully they’ll take time, sit down and listen, and we’ll go from there.”