ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — C.J. Anderson, the Broncos' starting running back on their Super Bowl 50 championship team, has announced his retirement from the NFL.
Anderson, 29, spent five seasons in Denver, where he racked up 3,051 yards, 20 touchdowns and a 2014 Pro Bowl appearance. He played seven total years in the NFL.
The Broncos signed Anderson in 2013 as an undrafted free agent from California, and he returned to his home state for Super Bowl 50, which was held in Santa Clara, California. Anderson, a resident of nearby Vallejo, tallied 100 all-purpose yards and scored Denver's only offensive touchdown in the Super Bowl win.
"I got to play in three [Super Bowls] and almost had a chance to win one two years ago, which is amazing," Anderson told DenverBroncos.com on Friday. "I think Super Bowl 50, even though I didn't end it like Jerome Bettis did at home, but it was [near] home. I had a lot family and friends there. I had a lot of family and friends come up. To win, to play successfully in the game, to have 100 yards all-purpose, … to have a bulk of the yards on the offense and being locked in, that was fun. And everything that came after it was even better. That's probably the best moment when it came to Super Bowl 50. What people miss is the celebration with your family on the field. You spend so much time, you put so much in with other people, coaches and players — other fathers, other sons — when you get that moment with your family with the Lombardi, that was a special moment."
Earlier in that championship season, Anderson helped the Broncos to an overtime win over the New England Patriots that proved critical to the Broncos' home-field advantage hopes. Anderson ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including the 48-yard game-winner in the snow.
"The touchdown obviously was the highlight, but before we took the lead in the fourth quarter, there were two blitzes that I picked up," Anderson said. "[I] stoned Jerod Mayo in the hole to get the ball down to D.T. [Demaryius Thomas] and then to get it down to Emmanuel [Sanders] the very next play. The two same blitzes back to back, and I think that was the biggest moment. … I think when you watch the TV copy, Cris Collinsworth says something about it. Those moments were big for me, because those were moments for the team. Obviously winning was great, but the moments for the team, those moments were big for me where Brock [Osweiler] could trust me as a pass blocker and obviously my coaches trust me as a pass blocker and then to see Emmanuel and D.T. reap the benefits off me doing my job at a high level, those two moments were my favorite two moments of the game."
That Super Bowl season was one of Anderson's favorite memories in Denver, he said. He also recounted a 51-yard touchdown in Oakland in 2014, when he weaved through a bevy of defenders. It was Anderson's first score, and it came in front of many of his family members. His Pro Bowl appearance that season — which he earned after posting nearly 1,200 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns — also made his list of highlights.
Learning from players like Champ Bailey and Peyton Manning and coaches like Gary Kubiak, Wade Phillips and Vance Joseph also left a lasting impression.
"It obviously had a huge impact on my life, just learning from a lot of coaches and players that put me in the position [to succeed]," Anderson said.
Anderson posted his most productive rushing season in his final year in Denver, as he started all 16 games and carried the ball 245 times for 1,007 yards.
"It was huge," he said of his lone 1,000-yard rushing season. "You feel like it was a long time coming. Obviously I dealt with sharing carries. … I think the consistency is the big point. I think I was highly consistent when I got the opportunity and got the touches. If you look it up, if I was anywhere between 18-plus more touches, I've always had a very successful game. … When I look at that 1,000-yard season, even though I was sharing carries, the games that I took advantage of when I got the carries made it more special and worthwhile."
As Anderson moves away from the NFL, he likely won't stray far from the football field in his retirement.
"I've just been helping out some high school kids, and then I got a phone call from somebody who I trust who's giving me an opportunity," Anderson said. "Hopefully we can make that announcement here in a couple weeks. … I was on the fence, but I see helping some of these high school kids, giving them fundamentals, giving them technique, really making an impact on them off who I was. I was happy every day and then the decision became that much easier."
Anderson, though, will long have the relationships with players in Denver and across the NFL who helped make his career special.
"It's good to have those friendships," Andreson said. "Some that I've made with the LA Rams, with Carolina and Christian McCaffrey and Julius Peppers. With T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Von Miller, Peyton Manning — those are special relationships that you can never break or give away."