This Patriots Tackle Returns With ‘Chip’ On Shoulder After 2019 Release

Calvin Anderson spent 11 days with the Patriots in 2019


May 18, 2023

Shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft concluded, offensive tackle Calvin Anderson signed with the Patriots, hoping to ink his name on New England’s long list of undrafted success stories.

That dream ended quickly. Anderson’s Patriots tenure lasted all of 11 days.

Needing 90-man roster spots to sign tackle Jared Veldheer and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, New England cut Anderson and fellow UDFA Xavier Ubosi. Both were let go before the start of organized team activities, meaning Anderson never even had a chance to practice with the Patriots before being tossed back into the free agent pool.

Fortunately for Anderson, another team bit. He was claimed off waivers by the Jets, opened the 2019 season on New York’s practice squad and was signed by Denver a month later. The Texas product went on to appear in 41 games for the Broncos over three seasons, starting 12 of them.

Now, he’s back where he began.

Anderson signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Patriots in March, becoming the first external free agent to agree to terms with New England this offseason. On Thursday, he addressed reporters for the first time since his return, reflecting on the winding road that led him back to Foxboro.

“It’s been fun,” Anderson said. “Obviously, I was here for a brief stint. It’s kind of a funny story looking back. I can make some humor of it now. At the time, I was a little going crazy. But as a rookie, you’ve got to learn the ropes somehow, and I ended up benefiting from learning that the NFL’s a business real quick. I went off, created some value, and now I’m back, hopefully to give that value back to the Patriots.”

Those lessons didn’t immediately hit Anderson, who was in the same UDFA class as Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and current Patriots linebacker Terez Hall. It wasn’t until after his hectic rookie year that began to see his brief stay in New England as a blessing.

“I was forced (to move on quickly),” the 27-year-old said. “I didn’t have the time to really sob over it or anything. It was a very quick turnaround. You’ve got to get back up on your feet if you’re going to make it work, so I was forced into having it turn into a learning experience very quickly. But I think in retrospect, I give it maybe about a year later I was able to really appreciate how much of a benefit it was going through that sort of NFL experience.”

Though his first Foxboro cameo lasted less than two weeks, Anderson said the Patriots’ main mantra motivated him during his stints in New York and Denver.

“I think there was a very big first impression with the ‘do your job’ slogan,” said Anderson, who sported a retro Pat Patriot jacket and shorts at the podium. “That’s something you just take. I think anybody that comes here will tell you that — the idea of doing your job — and I think you carry it through. Even though we didn’t say those specific words wherever else I was, the idea of doing your job and how important that was, I think it always gives you a leg up to guys who maybe don’t understand that other place.”

It remains to be seen what role Anderson will play in his return to New England, but his $4 million guaranteed salary all but guarantees him a spot on the 53-man roster. With experience at both right and left tackle, he currently projects as the team’s top backup but could push fellow newcomer Riley Reiff and/or Trent Brown for a starting spot this spring and summer.

And, yes, four years later, he remains motivated by his Patriots release.

“I’d say it made the chip on my shoulder bigger,” Anderson said. “You always have a chip on your shoulder going undrafted. I think I had to have a chip on my shoulder leaving this place. I tried to take what I learned. I came back with much more of a business mentality as far as what I was doing and what I was able to give the team that I was on. You have to learn quick. You’re young and think the NFL is going to last forever.”

Conor McDermott, Yodny Cajuste, Andrew Stueber and 2023 fifth-round draft pick Sidy Sow round out the Patriots’ depth chart at tackle. The first OTA practice is scheduled for next Monday.

Thumbnail photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images
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