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News: An ex-Cowboy resurfaces in Europe

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by acheman, May 10, 2006.

  1. acheman

    acheman Member

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    I did not realize Antonio Anderson was coaching with the Fire. Good little article.


    Living his dream
    May 10, 2006
    By Mark Stringfellow
    NFL Europe


    [IMG] Antonio Anderson's pro playing career did not turn out as he had hoped. (Getty Images) Legendary coach Vince Lombardi believed that in a man’s finest hour the greatest fulfillment that he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victoriously.
    If history and Lombardi’s logical phrases hold to be true, then Fire defensive line coach Antonio Anderson is well on his way to victory in the game of life. The NFL is a structure where business collides with athletically gifted players and puts them to the test in one of the most rigorous sports in the world.
    The length of a player’s career depends on an array of factors, which may vary from team chemistry to fulfilling personnel needs to timing. Although athletic ability is a compelling reason to keep any player, they can come a dime a dozen. But the right attitude doesn’t.
    Based on his stats coming out of Syracuse, Anderson’s physical makeup and his selection to the NFL All Rookie Team, his talent was never an issue. However, he says his mindset might have been.
    “Coach (Jim) Tomsula mentions this often, and I found it to be true in my situation. He says that a lot of guys feel that they’ve arrived when they really haven’t,” said Anderson. “I had a little bit of success and money, but I didn’t know how to handle that.”
    After entering the draft in 1997, Anderson was a projected first rounder. But after sliding to the fourth round, he was finally scooped up by the Dallas Cowboys. Needless to say, he was eager to prove every team wrong that passed him up. And he did. Anderson registered over 40 tackles and two sacks during that year, in which he played every game and started five.
    Ecstatic about his newfound glory, the New York native began to develop an attitude that transformed the once meek but spirited Orangemen into a cocky rookie.
    “Usually the coaches at Syracuse kept me grounded, but in the pros you have to learn to keep yourself grounded,” said Anderson. “No matter your level of success you have to stay grounded because there’s always a guy that’s coming for your spot.”
    As fate would have it, the Brooklyn boy who once dreamed of becoming a force to be reckoned with in this league had finally made his arrival. But his exit was right around the corner. During his next season, a knee injury limited him to only five games. After his recovery, the Cowboys placed him on the expansion draft list for the Cleveland Browns, but his injury never fully healed.
    His last outing of professional football was during the one year run of the XFL. He spent time with the Memphis Maniax in hopes of securing one more shot at the league. But it never happened.
    It became clear to Anderson that his stint in the NFL ended prematurely because of his dying hunger. But he felt that if he could stop someone else from making the same mistakes that would be his silver lining. Sensing that New York was the best place to start, he began teaching at Hempstead High School in Long Island, while coaching football.
    During his stint of coaching high school ball, he went through many ups and downs. But through it all, he found that teaching might’ve been his true calling.
    “Just to see those kids faces light up when I was teaching them how to play football was very enjoyable,” said Anderson.
    After three years of connecting with the youth, Anderson was still filled with the love of the game. But he wanted another challenge. The East Coast has always been a stable for the basketball elite, while football shared the back seat with baseball.
    In turn, the coach started noticing this attitude in his kids, and the ones who were hearing his message were dwindling in number. Knowing that he wanted to get back in a mindset where people shared his same enthusiasm for the game, NFLE was the perfect fit.
    [IMG] Now a Fire coach, Anderson enjoys working with players to make them better. (Rhein Fire) Anderson’s words have made a lasting impression on many of his linemen, mainly because they can feel the honesty in his words.
    “Coach has taught me a whole lot that will hopefully help me make the roster back in Jacksonville,” said Walter Curry. “He’s showing us all the little things, like using our hands, getting off blocks and how to make plays.”
    Ja’Waren Blair, Fire defensive lineman who reminds Anderson of himself, says that coach has taught him things that’ll forever stick with him.
    “He’s someone who hits the details all the time, and that makes us all play better,” Blair said. “He’s achieved what I want to achieve in football by just going out there and doing it. That’s the main thing that I see in him that’s coming in my life.”
    Coupled with teaching from Fire head coach Tomsula and Fire defensive coordinator Adrian White, Anderson helped lead the Fire to one of the best starts in the history of the NFL Europe.
    Four games into this season, the Fire had only given up 8.5 points per game and averaged four turnovers in each one.
    While their defensive play has slightly decreased, they’re still sitting at the top of league standings, holding their opponents to an average of 93 rushing yards per game.
    Although Coach Anderson’s days of stopping NFL offenses may be long gone, his dream of leaving the game with something memorable is still attainable.
    “Everything has been great so far, and my dreams are just to continue to advance in my coaching and see where that takes me.”
  2. L-O-Jete

    L-O-Jete Member

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    For a moment I mixed him up with Benson "the roofer", I had forgotten about Anderson.
  3. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

    23,297 Messages
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    That is completely understandable.

    We have had so many busts, they all mix together after a while.
  4. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    Nice read......I did not know what happen to him...
  5. hipfake08

    hipfake08 Well-Known Member

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    The scouting report on him was boom - great player OR Bust.
    It was in his hands.
    He flashed great playing ability but it did not always surface every play or week.

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