Like an errant pass, quarterback Derek Anderson sent Cleveland Browns fans a rocket that he wishes he could take back.
Anderson apologized to Cleveland fans Wednesday after calling them "ruthless" and adding that they "don't deserve a winner" following his release by the team.
What's next for Anderson?
Now a free agent following his release by the Browns, Derek Anderson likely will visit the Cardinals this week, according to NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.
"The fans are ruthless and don't deserve a winner," Anderson wrote. "I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured. I know at times I wasn't great. I hope and pray I'm playing when my team comes to town and (we) roll them."
When Anderson sustained a knee injury during a 2008 game against the Indianapolis Colts, some Browns fans cheered as the quarterback laid on the field in pain. Despite making the Pro Bowl in 2007, the majority of Cleveland fans wanted the team to start Brady Quinn, a first-round draft pick in 2007.
On Wednesday, Anderson sent an e-mail to Cleveland media members saying he regrets some of his comments.
"Those of you who got to know me personally from covering the Browns over the past five years, know this was out of character for me," Anderson said. "I wasn't taken out of context, but I was speaking out of frustration after my career with the Browns came to a close. I had some great times playing in Cleveland, especially during the 2007 season, and I met some great people and made many lifelong friends along the way. I'm looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life."
Anderson's release came one day after the Browns acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
Anderson threw 29 touchdown passes in 2007 and led the Browns to a 10-6 record. However, his promising career has been in a tailspin ever since. He lost his starting job to Quinn at the start of last season, got it back, lost it again, and then returned to the starting lineup when Quinn was injured and helped win Cleveland's last two games.
Anderson, 26, spent five seasons with the Browns, who claimed him off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. Anderson was due a $2 million roster bonus March 19, and his salary was set for $7.45 million in 2010 -- financial burdens that heavily factored into the Browns' decision to dump him.
"I want to thank Derek for everything that he gave to the Cleveland Browns organization over the last five years," coach Eric Mangini said in a statement released by the team Tuesday. "He did everything we asked of him, and it was a pleasure to coach such a competitive person. I want to wish him all the best in the future."
Anderson threw for 3,787 yards in 2007, and 17 of his 29 TD passes went to wide receiver Braylon Edwards, whom the Browns traded to the New York Jets last season. Blessed with one of the NFL's strongest arms, Anderson was never able to duplicate the success that he attained in '07.
!(http://blogblitz.nfl.com/cleveland-browns) For more on the Cleveland Browns, check out the latest
from our bloggers.
Anderson's passer rating was an abysmal 42.1 last season, and the Browns went 3-4 with him in the starting lineup. But despite his struggles and constant criticism from Cleveland fans who preferred Quinn, Anderson never complained and remained one of the team's leaders.
After Quinn sustained a season-ending foot injury on Dec. 20, Anderson started and helped Cleveland win its final two games. The team finished the season with a four-game winning streak -- a spurt that likely saved Mangini's job.
It's still unclear what direction the Browns will go at quarterback. Quinn hasn't lived up to expectations, and Wallace, who worked with new Browns president Mike Holmgren with the Seahawks, might not be ready to start. Holmgren said last week that the team was actively looking for a quarterback, but he didn't specify if that meant in free agency or via trade.
The Browns also have 11 picks in April's draft, and it's possible they could use one to groom a starter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.