Carolina Panthers’ Robbie Anderson: Retirement, Baker Mayfield tweets just ‘thinking out loud’

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CHARLOTTE, NC – This offseason, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson has done much of what he said is “thinking out loud” – and occasionally deleting those thoughts – which created a lot of buzz on Twitter.

He indicated he did not want the team to trade for Cleveland Brown quarterback Baker Mayfield during the NFL draft when general manager Scott Fitterer investigated the possibility, and last weekend he suggested retirement was an option.

I explained those thoughts for the first time on Wednesday when the Panthers completed the second day of a three-day mandatory minicamp.

After responding to a tweet that the Panthers were trying to trade for Mayfield (to compete with established starter Sam Darnold) with the comment “No,” Anderson said, “I said what I said. I’m just trying to be a good teammate for my quarterback. That is it. Just trying to defend the guy who’s my quarterback. Do you understand? That is it.”

Asked if he felt Darnold, his teammate through two seasons with the New York Jets and one with the Panthers, had been defended enough during a career that has seen him go 17-32 as a starter, Anderson said: “I mean, “For now, it’s my quarterback. I have to do him justice and stand up for him.”

Asked what his answer would be if the Panthers acquired Mayfield, which team leaders have not ruled out as an option, Anderson said, “It will be what it is, you know.”

I did not expand. He just said his tweet was not meant to be personal to Mayfield.

“I do not know Baker,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s eyebrow-raising offseason on social media took another twist Saturday when he tweeted, then deleted, “I’t gone lie. Considering retirement.”

Anderson made it pretty clear Wednesday that he has no plans to retire.

“I’m here, am I?” he said.

If he changed his mind, he would have had to return the $ 11.77 million he received in March, when the Panthers converted $ 8.97 million of his salary and a $ 2.8 million guard bonus into a signature bonus to clear about $ 6 million in cap space.

Anderson stayed at home in Florida and missed Phase 3 of offseason training when the training moved to the field, giving his first tweet some credibility. It at least got Darnold’s attention when the Panthers learned a new system under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

“In the beginning, it was a kind of surprise,” Darnold said.

Asked if he took Anderson’s tweet seriously, or if it was Anderson who was Anderson, Darnold would not go there. Anderson had already changed the spelling of his first name from Robby to Robbie and his jersey number from 11 to 3, which he wore in high school.

“There are many ways to look at it,” Darnold said. “I’m not going to dive into it.”

Nor would coach Matt Rhule, who coached Anderson at Temple and twice struggled to get him back in school to make the NFL an option.

“I’m not paying attention to anyone’s tweets,” Rhule said. “People tweet what they want. Even when I was a college coach for a long time, I learned … I just let things go.”

But Rhule believes the 29-year-old Anderson, who told coaches on Wednesday that he was not physically able to train, will follow a bizarre 2021 season with a “ton of production” in McAdoo’s system. He went so far as to say that the offense was “perfect” for a player like Anderson who can play all three receiver spots.

“When hiring Ben, one of the things that was really important was that I did not just want to use one or two players,” said Rhule, who throughout the off-season has been clear that he does not want the offensive only about running. back Christian McCaffrey.

Anderson was a prolific player in 2020 with career-best 95 catches for 1,096 yards. He followed that up with just 53 catches for 519 yards last season after getting a two-year extension of $ 29.5 million.

Improvement is what Anderson wants now. One of the reasons he changed his shirt number was “it represents new beginnings.”

“That’s how I feel in many aspects of my life,” he said. “A lot of growth, height. It’s naughty. It looks better than 11.”

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