2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Broncos training camp — final day

Published: August 15, 2013, 11:02 am, by Paul Klee

This is about C.J. Anderson.

This was supposed to be about C.J. Anderson making the Broncos’ roster. After the undrafted running back went down with an apparent knee injury about 15 minutes ago, that scenario just got a little bit more unlikely.

Anderson was carted off the field and taken to the training room. Several teammates took a knee to offer a prayer for his health.

This is a sad reality of training camp and another reason the preseason is too long. Don’t forget, the Broncos still have three pretend games remaining.

Just so happens I had a long conversation with Anderson yesterday, on Wednesday, after the Cal product ran with the second-team offense for the first time this preseason.

“This whole thing, man, is a dream come true,” Anderson told me.

I was planning to write about Anderson for Sunday’s Gazette. I expected he would have another fine performance, this time in Seattle on Saturday, much like he did last week in San Francisco. We’ll learn the extent of the injury later on.

But this one hurts. Not because Anderson was guaranteed to make the 53-man roster or because he is viewed as an integral part of Peyton Manning’s offense.

It hurts because this was shaping up to be a whale of a feel-good story. After Wednesday’s practice, Anderson felt he had left a mark on this training camp, perhaps enough so to make the final roster. It’s not like the Broncos are loaded in the backfield.

“Being an underdog throughout your whole life, you always have to prove yourself. So why not put myself in a position I’m comfortable with?” Anderson said. “This is what I’m comfortable with.”

This is a guy who remembers the names of the 22 running backs who were drafted instead of him.

“And the order,” he said.

This is a guy who got genuinely excited when Manning hollered at him during a film session.

“He yells at me in the meeting room: ‘Come on, C.J. You’re better than that!’ And I just say, ‘I got you,’” Anderson said. “But honestly, it’s good to know he thinks you’re better than that, other than him not saying anything to you at all. That’s how I take it.”

Here’s hoping Anderson’s injury isn’t too severe. But it didn’t look good. Anderson groaned in pain and twice slapped the side of the cart that took him off the field.

Yet another example why the preseason is far, far too long.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette