Robby Anderson made a splash in his introduction with the Carolina Panthers, both on and off the field.
His viral “what’s the bear doing” delighted the internet, and he delivered 100-plus-yards receiving performances in each of his first two games. Anderson ended the year with just one more game over 100 yards, but finished the season with 1,000 scrimmage yards. He has one more year on his current contract.
Now, as Anderson heads into a full offseason with the Panthers, he will work on improving on his career year. He’s working with PETA currently on a campaign urging people to never chain their dogs up and to keep them indoors with the family, especially while it’s cold outside.
The Observer spoke with the wide receiver about his plan for the offseason, the decision to sign with the Panthers and what’s next. The interview was edited for clarity.
Alaina Getzenberg: How has your offseason started off?
Robby Anderson: “I had purchased my house before the season started. So I barely was able to come here and be hands on with getting everything in order the way I wanted to. I just like pretty much all last week just day by day kind of situating everything. getting everything in order how I want it to be, just doing some work on the house. ... Just kind of sitting back and starting to map out the offseason and my routine, and things like that. What I need to get done to improve and also mapping up, some vacation, time with the family.”
AG: Have you always been a dog lover?
RA: “I’ve pretty much always had a dog for the majority of my life.”
AG: How many dogs do you have now?
RA: “I have two of my own, me and my girlfriend and my mother has her dog that we just got last year. She’s about to turn 1. ... My female rottweiler, her name is Fendi. Our yorkie is called Litty. And my mother’s golden retriever is called Nala.”
AG: Why is this campaign with PETA something you want to put your name behind?
RA: “I just appreciate dogs. They’re a beautiful creature to me. I just like dogs. It’s just my preference. ... The company that they bring and things like that, the comfort from them. ... I care about their safety just because I think that’s the right thing for them: To be treated correctly and be safe.”
AG: Is there anything specifically this offseason you want to work on?
RA: Anderson: “A few things that I want to improve in my game. I want to get a little bit stronger, I actually want to put on a couple pounds. If I add a little bit of weight and do the right things, I’m trying to get a little bit more explosive and a little bit faster.”
AG: Do you worry about putting on more weight vs. maintaining your speed?
RA: Anderson: “I’m not going to add like a crazy amount of weight. It’s not going to make me lose a step. I think if I add weight and strength in the right areas, it will actually make me get faster.”
AG: Are you happy with your decision to sign with the Panthers?
RA: “I definitely think that was one the best decisions I made all in all. I just felt like a sense of peace being there. It was times when I was in New York that I honestly, I just didn’t, I felt like I was losing my love for football. It was days I wouldn’t even want to go to the building like I didn’t like feeling like that ... there was just a lot of things. I just wasn’t genuinely happy there all the time. And in Carolina, it just felt like a new breath of air for me and I just (felt) at a real peace, I felt comfortable. Like I actually liked Charlotte. I was excited to go to work every day and get better and just enjoy even though things weren’t always 100% how we would want them to be, but I still was happy being there and still enjoyed it.”
AG: Did you ever consider quitting when you were with the Jets?
RA: No, I would never quit. I would never give up. I trust in God, I knew I was there for a reason. But it was a struggle at times. I feel like God and the universe don’t make mistakes. So it was a situation I had to fight through and build through and find positivity and also within myself, look myself in the mirror and understand why things were certain ways, and I had to make personal change as well. It wasn’t all the situation, I played a part in that, too.
“One of the biggest things I learned from New York, when I really took that step, learning to take more accountability for things and that was something I struggled with. A lot of times I was trying to find a reason as to why this and that wasn’t my fault. I started to look myself in the mirror more, take more ownership of things, and not look at the actual situation I was in. And that’s when I started seeing a lot of personal growth outside of just football and being more happy outside of football, and starting to find more peace.”
AG: Did that comfort help you perform better on the field?
RA: “I think it definitely did. I felt like in Carolina, they believed in me. At times in New York, I felt like they would try and find reasons for why I couldn’t do things, instead of giving me the opportunity to do things, you know? And it used to frustrate me, because I knew my passion, I knew my heart and I knew my capabilities. I didn’t always feel like I had a fair shot to become what I was capable of being. And I think that it kind of shows being out of that situation, in one year and doing what I did this year, as opposed to being in New York for four years, not doing those sorts of things.”
AG: Was this year a statement on what you can do going forward?
RA: “I definitely know that I’m capable of much more and I feel like I’m starting to approach the prime of my career. But I definitely think that was an example of what’s to come and what I’m capable of doing, God willing.”
AG: Did being in a room with DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel help you perform better?
RA: “It definitely helped me cause I know, a lot of times in New York, there were games, I’d get double teamed. Not to discredit anybody around me, but I never, besides my rookie year when I played with Brandon Marshall, I don’t feel like I ever had this caliber of talent around me, and not just one other good player, two other good players. ... They made me a better player, because there was things I’d watch from Curtis and I’d watch from DJ, that, you’re only as good as your weakest link, but I don’t think none of us were weak.”
AG: Curtis Samuel is a free agent this offseason. You’re hoping he comes back?
RA: “Yeah, of course, but he’s got to do what’s best for him.”
AG: Do you think offensive coordinator Joe Brady is ready to be a head coach?
RA: “I could see him doing a lot of things. If that’s the decision and opportunity that comes, I’m very confident that he’ll be successful. He’s a very hard worker and has a high football IQ. I wish the best for him. But I do hope, being selfish, that he still is with us, but I always hope the best for everybody. That’s a big accomplishment.”
AG: Was this year more difficult mentally because of the COVID-19 restrictions?
RA: “Personally, I don’t think that it was harder for me. I think it made it a lot easier, in a sense, because it kind of eliminated a lot of things, it took away a lot of things that probably wasn’t as necessary, like for instance, no disrespect, but like having to meet with the media face-to-face and deal with that. For me, not having to go to like OTAs and stuff and being able to kind of spend that time doing the type of training that I like to do, I think that gave me a little more time to be hands on with what I feel like bettered me. “
AG: I’m not too offended. How do you set your goals for 2021?
RA: “Just overall holding myself accountable and being real with myself and just knowing like, what it is I want to get better at. Last year my biggest goal coming into last season was yards after catch and shorter routes and getting the ball in my hands, catch and run. And I was in the top five, at a point, in yards after catch. I don’t know where I ended at (Anderson finished sixth overall), but I definitely improved. I think a bulk of my yards this year came from yards after catch (512/1096). Just knowing what I want to be better at, like when I press play and I watch the film, things I want to see more of out of myself.”