Arizona Cardinals  

 

Anderson apologizes, hopes to avoid more YouTube face time

  • By Associated Press
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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson has apologized for his Monday night postgame tirade.

"My mom and dad didn't raise me to act like that in times of adversity," he said Wednesday.

The quarterback's rant, now a nationwide spectacle, came after a series of questions from Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic's beat reporter, about why Anderson was smiling with teammate Deuce Lutui on the sideline while the Cardinals trailed the San Francisco 49ers by 18 points late in the game. The brief clip of the two grinning had been shown during the Monday night telecast.

Anderson said after the game that it was no one's business what he and Lutui were discussing. As Somers persisted, Anderson lost his temper and shouted about how he had put his "freaking heart and soul" into the team and that there was nothing funny about it.

Anderson was low-key and contrite as he opened his weekly news conference Wednesday.

"Let's try to do this in a manner that doesn't end up all over the YouTube, if we can," he said. " ... Obviously I was very frustrated by what had happened during the game, and I let my emotions get away from me."

The blowup came after the Cardinals lost their seventh consecutive game, 27-6 in a flat, listless performance against the 49ers.

"I've been through some rough times in football," Anderson said, "but I think it obviously was one of the most frustrating times for me, a game that I felt like going in that we were very prepared for. I had a very good week of practice, like I said, and to lay an egg on national television was not only frustrating for me but frustrating to every one of the guys that's out here every single day and sees what we're capable of doing."

The pressure has been on Anderson since coach Ken Whisenhunt named him the Cardinals' starter during the preseason, then released Kurt Warner's heir apparent, Matt Leinart. At one point, Whisenhunt benched Anderson but went back to him after rookie Max Hall struggled mightily. Whisenhunt said Tuesday that Anderson will start Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

Whisenhunt has brushed aside the smiling on the sideline, saying it's unfair to interpret anything from a few seconds of video. On Wednesday, Whisenhunt repeated his praise of Anderson's work ethic.

"I give that man his credit," the coach said. "He works hard, he studies hard. It's important to him. That position is a tough position."

Anderson entered the season completing 52.9 percent of his passes for his NFL career. He's at 52.8 percent this season. Among starting quarterbacks, only Carolina Panthers rookie Jimmy Clausen is lower at 50 percent.

"What gets lost is the situations that you're in sometimes," Whisenhunt said. "I think that's a tough way to judge it, but that's the way a lot of people do."

When asked how he manages to stay calm, Whisenhunt replied: "You need to stay even and not lose your temper. Trust me, I get upset, players have seen that from me, it's tough. There's no way around it, we're working to correct it every day, and hopefully, we'll get it done.

Arizona's offense ranks 31st out of 32 NFL teams, and as always is the case with quarterbacks, Anderson receives the brunt of the criticism from fans.

"Our expectations for him in that position are that we can do some things and move the football, and we haven't been doing that as good this year," Whisenhunt said. "And that's on everybody, but as with that position, he gets the blame for it. That's the tough part of it."

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Anderson said he tries to avoid his critics.

"I don't know necessarily how much I have been blamed," he said. "I put my phones away yesterday and everything. I just keep a close-knit family and friends around me, and we talk about life, which I think is the best way to handle times when they are rough like this for everybody."

Running back Tim Hightower said he felt for his quarterback over the last two days.

"People don't realize exactly how much pressure he has on his shoulders," Hightower said. "For people to point the finger at him and say he's the problem, it's easy to point out the problem when you haven't walked a mile in that guy's shoes. You have no clue the preparation that he does on a day-in, day-out basis.

"I was going through the same thing when I was fumbling. ... All I can do is support him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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