Panthers sign former Broncos RB Anderson

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers have signed veteran running back C.J. Anderson to a one-year deal, the team announced Monday.

Anderson will compete with Cameron Artis-Payne to be the change-of-pace back behind starter Christian McCaffrey, a 2017 first-round pick. Carolina released Jonathan Stewart, the franchise’s leading rusher, during the offseason, leaving a void at power back.

The Denver Broncos released Anderson, 27, on April 16, the day they started their offseason conditioning program. Anderson compiled his first 1,000-yard season in 2017 and has been with the Broncos since he made the roster as an undrafted rookie in 2013. The Broncos matched a four-year, $18 million offer sheet from the Miami Dolphins in 2016 to keep Anderson. That deal had two years remaining on it when he was released.

He was selected to his only Pro Bowl in 2014, when he scored a career-best 10 touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving). Anderson played in two Super Bowls at Denver, rushing for 90 yards and one touchdown in a 24-10 victory over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.

He called Carolina a “championship caliber team, a championship caliber organization.”

“The style that Carolina likes to play definitely fits my style and my game,” Anderson said on a conference call. “As far as ground and pound, the ‘Keep Pounding’ slogan Carolina uses fits well. My game is breaking tackles and finding ways to use that and make long plays.”

Anderson didn’t get into how many other teams were interested in him after he was released, saying only that “I just felt this was the best team for me. I get to play the type of style I want to play.”

Anderson already has had a conversation with quarterback Cam Newton, who had a rough day in Super Bowl 50.

“I saw him in the lunch room earlier today,” he said. “We didn’t even talk about football. Me and Cam coached against each other in late March, his 7-on-7 team and my 7-on-7 team. I’m excited to see how he prepares and works.”

He also praised his new position teammate McCaffrey, who rushed for 435 yards and two touchdowns on 117 attempts last season. The rookie also had five receiving touchdowns and 651 yards on 80 receptions.

“Having a guy like McCaffrey, super shifty . . . it will be a great opportunity with each other. We can definitely feed off each other,” Anderson said.

After the signing, McCaffrey welcomed Anderson to Carolina via a tweet.

In five NFL seasons Anderson has rushed for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also has 103 receptions for 859 yards and four scores.

Anderson doesn’t hold a grudge against Denver for releasing him.

“We call it history,” he said. “I came into the game undrafted. I didn’t feel I had the lack of respect then and I don’t now. I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder.”

General manager Marty Hurney felt fortunate to have a back like Anderson available.

“He’s coming off a 1,000-plus yard season and gives us another good runner to compete with the other good backs we have,” he said. “He runs with excellent pad level, has great vision and consistently gets yards after contact.”

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.

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