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Jamaal Anderson says ego is gone, ready to play

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jamaal Anderson was the No. 8 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and, for some time, he didn't think it was possible for him to disappear.

Almost eight years later, on a field at the inaugural Veteran Combine here in Tempe, he has a different perspective.

"Once you're out of the league, you're going off word of mouth to get back in there," Anderson told NFL Media. "A lot of these scouts and teams immediately write you off. They don't know how hard or hungry we are after getting those looks. And I'm just fortunate for another platform to show my skills."

He added: "It's easy to get lost. As many new guys that are coming in every year, that many are coming out."

Anderson, who has 7.5 career sacks and last appeared in training camp with the Bears in 2013, says he's fully recovered from a knee injury -- almost the exact same one suffered by Adam Carriker -- that blew him out of football.

Once he got over the flashbacks, the feelings of performing combine-type drills for the first time in nearly a decade, he said he felt comfortable here.

"I feel outstanding, not just physically but mentally, and I think it definitely humbled me to sit back and realize that I'm not entitled as a first-rounder to be on a roster. I think I'm going to cherish more of the journey now."

The last part may be what scouts are trying to hear from Anderson this week.

Atlanta took Anderson over Darrelle Revis and Patrick Willis, and while he'll forever be a victim of that circumstance, and forever thought of in that situation, he feels like a different player now. He is beyond the moment when he washed out with the Atlanta Falcons after only four sacks and beyond his brief stints with the Colts, Bengals and Bears.

He just wants to make a roster instead of feeling like he should be on one.

"A sense of ego comes with it," he said. "It doesn't translate for everyone once they get into the NFL. It's a grown man sport and fortunately I got to go through the ins and outs, the highs and lows, and now hopefully I'll be back enjoying the highs."

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