Mark Anderson landed in the NFL with a splash: runner-up in defensive rookie of the year voting after 12 sacks in just situation duty as a pass rusher.
When he got to the New England Patriots, he understood why he was there: to tackle quarterbacks. All but one.
If I touched Tom Brady I would be out of there the next day, Anderson said, laughing. I never hit him. But when I came here, kind of like in my rookie year, I wanted to show the team what I could do. I love the system. Its fun right now.
It was definitely fun for Anderson again in 2011 as he signed with New England last Aug. 5 and tied for the team high with 10 sacks. Actually it was more than fun; it was a career rebirth after he had gone from his lofty rookie results (including a Super Bowl trip) to being handed Alex Browns starting job to being cut as his production declined to miniscule.
After the Bears released Anderson in 2010, he had a brief stop with the Houston Texans. Not a high point, more like a stopover, he said.
Then New England called and didnt have to ask twice, particularly with the impression Bill Belichicks made on Anderson. Call it a touch of awe.
He knows everything, Anderson said, shaking his head. He knows about players from other teams. He knows about backups on other teams. He knows weaknesses and tendencies. You have to admire a guy like that. He knew my strengths and weaknesses before I joined the team.
Things did not end well in Chicago for Anderson, although there is no rancor or bitterness in his tone, only a little sadness, as he recalls times there. He still stays in touch with former teammates Anthony Adams, Adewale Ogunleye and Tommie Harris and still holds coach Lovie Smith in the highest possible regard.
Coach Smith and coach Belichick are similar in that they are both players coaches, Anderson said. They know when it is time to work and they know when it is time to rest your guys...
Chicago was a good experience because I learned a lot. I learned what to do and what not to do. I learned how to approach certain situations. I used what I learned in Chicago and Houston to help me when I came here. It has worked out for me.