Former Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson did not hear his name called during the 2019 draft. But, he did find a home signing with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent shortly after.
Anderson’s hopes of sticking with New England ended before they really even began, however, as he was cut by the team just 11 days later.
Four years later, Anderson is now back where it all started after he agreed on a two-year deal worth $7 million with the Patriots this offseason.
“It’s been fun,” Anderson said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “Obviously, I was here for a brief stint. It’s kind of a funny story looking back. I can make some humor of it now. At the time, I was a little going crazy. But as a rookie, you’ve got to learn the ropes somehow, and I ended up benefiting from learning that the NFL’s a business real quick. I went off, created some value, and now I’m back, hopefully to give that value back to the Patriots.”
While getting cut by New England was tough at first, it was the start of Anderson’s NFL journey. Looking back at it, the move forced him to grow up quickly
“I was forced. I didn’t have the time really to sob over it or anything. It was a very quick turnaround. You have to get back up on your feet if you’re going to make it work,” Anderson said. “I was forced into having to turn it into a learning experience very quickly. But I think in retrospect, I think maybe a year later I was really able to appreciate how much of a benefit it was going through that so early in my NFL stint.”
Anderson did get back on his feet quickly, as the New York Jets claimed him on waivers after he was released by New England. He begun the season on their practice squad before the Denver Broncos signed him a month into the 2019 season. Over the last three seasons, he appeared in 41 games for the Broncos, continuing to use the motivation from his first experience in New England.
“I’d say it made the chip on my shoulder bigger. You always have a chip on your shoulder going undrafted. I think I had to have a chip on my shoulder leaving this place,” Anderson said. “I tried to take what I learned. I came back with much more of a business mentality as far as what I was doing and what I was able to give the team that I was on. You got to learn quick. You’re young and think the NFL is going to last forever, but you learn quickly that’s not the case”
Beyond the extra motivation, New England gave Anderson something else he carried without him throughout his career. Despite being in Foxboro for just 11 days, the Patriots infamous ‘Do Your Job’ mantra made a strong impact on then 23-year old.
“I think there was a very big first impression with the ‘do your job’ slogan,” Anderson shared. “That’s something you just take. I think anybody that comes here will probably tell you that — the idea of doing your job — and I think you carry it through. Even though we didn’t say those specific words wherever else I was, the idea of doing your job and how important that was, I think it always gives you a leg up to guys who maybe don’t understand that other places.”
Now in with eyes towards 2023, it all comes full circle for Anderson as he is back in Foxboro. This stint should be for long too, as he will likely be counted on as part of getting New England’s offensive line back on track after a poor 2022 performance.
“I think everything always works out the way it’s supposed to,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a good story at the end.”