FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots made a change to their practice squad Thursday, signing former Houston Texans tight end Stephen Anderson.
Anderson spent the last two seasons with Houston after entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2016. He played in 28 games for the Texans before being waived Saturday during final roster cuts.
“It’s been a little bit of a different experience for me,” Anderson told NESN.com after his first Patriots practice. “I got released by the Texans, was kind of at home for a couple days, and … after I didn’t get picked up on the waiver wire, I was trying to see what the best situation was for me to come to. And New England was right at the top of the list, so that’s why I’m here.”
Anderson, who played his college ball at Cal, had a workout with the Patriots ahead of the 2016 draft and another one earlier this week after passing unclaimed through waivers.
“It’s just a wonderful place for a tight end,” the 25-year-old said of New England. “The playbook’s similar (to the Texans’), so there’s a lot of crossover. I just wanted to come here. They showed interest in me, and whoever’s showing interest in me, I’m going to play for.”
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Anderson is considerably smaller than fellow Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 268), Dwayne Allen (6-3, 265) and Jacob Hollister (6-4, 245). Reporters who spotted him at Thursday’s practice initially suspected he was a wide receiver.
Anderson was Houston’s No. 3 tight end last season behind C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin but wound up playing more snaps than either of those players as Fiedorowicz and Griffin both battled injuries. He caught 25 passes on 54 targets for 342 yards and one touchdown in 15 games, including five starts.
The Patriots are set to host the Texans this Sunday in their regular-season opener. Anderson, who won’t play in the game unless he is promoted to the 53-man roster, said he hasn’t been asked to provide an in-depth scouting report on his old team.
“A couple questions, but nothing crazy,” he said. “I think the coaches are doing a great job at doing their own (scouting) and stuff like that. It should be an exciting game regardless.”
Thumbnail photo via Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports Images