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Camp Spotlight: Running back C.J. Anderson

C.J. ANDERSON

Position: Running back

Ht/Wt: 5-8, 225

College: California

Experience: 7th season

View photos of running back C.J. Anderson from Day 9 of Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage.

Outlook: The Lions signed Anderson this offseason to add an experienced and physical runner to their backfield.

He played his first five NFL seasons in Denver, and never averaged under 4.0 yards per carry in any season. He made the Pro Bowl in 2014, rushing for 849 yards and eight touchdowns, with an average of 4.7 yards per carry. He was a 1,000-yard back (1,007) for the Broncos in 2017, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

He averaged an even 6.0 yards per carry last year splitting time with two teams. He spent nine games with Carolina and two regular season games with the Los Angeles Rams, plus three more in their playoff run to the Super Bowl.

Anderson joins Zach Zenner, Ty Johnson and Mark Thompson in looking to fill a role behind starter Kerryon Johnson in Detroit’s backfield.

Practice report: Sunday was a light practice day for the Lions as they worked on situational football with the players in shells instead of pads.

There weren't a lot of competitive periods, but Anderson and the backs did take part in a brief red zone 7-on-7 drill. Anderson is known more for his physical running style than his pass-catching ability, but he did catch 25 passes or more in a season three times while in Denver.

He didn’t have the ball thrown his way Sunday, but he’s made a couple tight, contested catches at the goal line throughout training camp. A couple practices back he caught a screen pass and set up his blocking nicely for a big gain.

Anderson has pretty consistently been the second back into drills and team periods behind Johnson, and that was the case again Sunday.

Quotable: “It’s just nasty,” Anderson said of his running style. “It’s downhill. There’s nothing special about it. If it’s four (yards), it’s four. If it’s six, it’s six. If it’s 46, it’s 46.

“It is what it is.”

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