Anderson reached a deal with the Panthers and arrived on the field midway through the team's practice Monday night. Like other free agents, Anderson won't start practicing until Thursday, per the NFL's new collective bargaining rules. But after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals soon after the NFL lockout ended last week, Anderson was happy to have a job.
"I don't think anybody knows the answer to what's going to go on the next four or five weeks," Anderson said. "Every training camp, I always go into like I'm going to play. I think that's what kept me going, I step in there and say, 'OK, I'm going to play,' even if it's not realistic."
And it might not be in Carolina for the 28-year-old Anderson, who will go up against Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton at quarterback.
"I'm obviously excited about being here and being back with 'Chud' and to help out with Cam and Jimmy," Anderson said. "To grow myself and help them with things in this offense that I've done in the past. Things that I've learned from my mistakes, and pass that on."
"(Anderson) understands the situation and the set of circumstances," Rivera said. "But at the same, I told Derek that's no reason to accept a back seat. So I think his whole approach, his whole attitude about everything is he's going to come in and compete."
Anderson, in a white Panthers T-shirt and black shorts with his No. 3 on the side, was mentioned the past few days as the veteran quarterback Rivera and Chudzinski hoped to add. Anderson met with Panthers officials early Monday and finished up the contract agreement shortly before taking the practice field. Anderson immediately ran to the other quarterbacks as they shuffled in and out of drills during Carolina's first practice in pads.
"Coming out here was good, reading plays that are familiar to me and just talking football with them," he said.
Chudzinski's offense has changed a bit since their days in Cleveland, Anderson said. There are enough similarities, though, that Anderson's confident he can make a difference with the Panthers, both as a teacher and a player.
"I'm not satisfied with the way I've played in the last three years," he said. "For me, it's just kind of getting the mind back in it and functioning."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press