LA Rams roster: The NFL journey of running back CJ Anderson

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams caught a break in 2018. CJ Anderson was a staple of the Denver Broncos backfield before becoming an NFL journeyman running back. Anderson signed with the Carolina Panthers on May 7, 2018, to be a power runner in their run-centric offense. He spent a good part of that season playing for the Carolina Panthers, who released him at Week 11, realizing that they had overestimated the role he would fill.

He bounced to the then-Oakland Raiders for a week before being cut once more.  On November 12 of that year, he was released. He was picked up by the Oakland Raiders, and without playing so much as a down, the Raiders would waive him. The word at that time suggested that he felt he was still a starting running back. But in the cases of both the Panthers and the Raiders, that was not the role that they had for him. Seven days later, his career would take a sudden turn for the better.

Finally, after bouncing around from two NFL teams, he signed with the LA Rams. Before all was said and done, he would have played in three NFL cities. His last stop with the Rams that year would be the best of all

On December 18, 2018, the LA Rams would sign the out-of-work running back as Todd Gurley was on the team’s inactive list. Gurley, who was suffering from chronic knee issues, was becoming less and less of a factor in Sean McVay’s offense. Anderson would have the opportunity to be the featured, if only temporary, running back in an elite offense.

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CJ Anderson Erupts For The Rams

Week 16 of that season saw Anderson explode on the scene for the Rams. Against the Arizona Cardinals, Anderson would rush for 167 yards and one touchdown in a 31-9 victory.

A week later against the San Francisco 49ers, he would have 22 receiving yards, 132 rushing yards, and a touchdown as the Rams would post a 48-32 win against their NFC West rival.

Increasingly, Anderson was becoming the offensive catalyst that would power the Rams in December of 2018, and carry them into the postseason.

In the NFC Round, they beat the Dallas Cowboys in the Los Angeles Coliseum 30-22.

In the NFC Championship Game, they knocked out the New Orleans Saints in a game that will live in infamy for Saints fans.

In the Superdome, the Rams won an epic 26-23 overtime battle with Anderson rushing 16 times for 44 yards and one receiving touchdown. The victory propelled McVay’s team to Super Bowl LIII. They would ultimately lose 13-3 to the New England Patriots.

Anderson Bids Farewell To The LA Rams And Announces His Retirement

Anderson’s NFL journey would end on September 17, 2019, while a member of the Detroit Lions. The following day, he would announce his retirement from the game he gave so much of his life to.

In his post-NFL career, Anderson would join the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of California as a volunteer coach. Currently, he is the running backs coach at Rice.

Without question, CJ Anderson was a significant factor in establishing the LA Rams as a powerhouse not just in the NFC West, but in the NFL. While his career may be seen as a footnote in the league, that isn’t the case in Los Angeles. For the Rams, he will go down as a much loved and respected running back, who was as good a man, as he was a player.

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