You may have wondered which rock QB Derek Anderson has been hiding under during the past two seasons. Not that he was anything spectacular to begin with, especially in light of his last sort-of-full season with Arizona, when he completed 51.7% of his passes for 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 games, but Carolina would be the answer, backing up maybe-jerk Cam Newton while throwing all of four passes in that time.
Anderson’s career as a starter began to flame out in his last few years at Cleveland. After leading the Browns to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2007-2008 (and earning himself a spot in the Pro Bowl that same year) things fizzled: his completion percentage tumbled all the way to 44.5% in 2009-2010. He only played in eight games that year, throwing 3 TDs and 10 INTs, and was eventually released after the season. Bummer.
It was clear by the end of 2010 that Anderson’s tenure was done – not only because of his poor play, but because of his fractured relationship with the city. By “fractured” we mean “he was booed during a 2008 game against the Colts when he went down with a knee injury.”
So when Anderson’s departure became final, he lashed out:
“‘The fans are ruthless and don’t deserve a winner,’ Anderson wrote Tuesday in a terse e-mail when asked for a reaction to being released. ‘I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured.
‘I know at times I wasn’t great. I hope and pray I’m playing when my team comes to town and (we) roll them.'”
Fast forward to now. The Browns have hired former Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as the new head coach, and since Anderson played under Chudzinski in Cleveland from 2007-2008 and Carolina the last two years, there’s a familiarity there. Because of this familiarity, reports are surfacing that Anderson and the Browns might be united once more, because, remember: Browns fans don’t deserve a winner (via The News-Herald), so why not bring back Derek Anderson?
“‘Looks like it is time to make a return to a familiar place for some unfinished business,” Anderson posted on his Facebook page one day after Chudzinski was named Browns coach. ‘I’d be honored to return to Cleveland to play football if the fans would have me.'”
So we looked on Facebook for Anderson’s page and stumbled across this, which seems to be the one – though 2,015 likes for a professional athlete seems small. (Well, actually, Derek Anderson.) But no other media outlet links to Anderson’s actual Facebook page – The News-Hearld included – so we remained skeptical. Not to mention that there are no posts by Anderson on the page, and the picture is still Anderson in a Browns uniform. Still, a number of outlets, including CBS Sports and ProFootballTalk, ran with the story. (Even though the Cleveland Browns haven’t even assembled an offensive staff and free agency doesn’t begin until March.)
We then found this article from FOX Sports Ohio, which lays out the truth in full. That Facebook page is in fact a fake, and the comments were made on Anderson’s personal page, not a fan page. According to FOX Sports Ohio’s Zac Jackson, Anderson’s comments were two separate statements welded together for the sake of a story. (Jackson is friends with Anderson on Facebook and confirmed this to us in a tweet. If you’re curious, head on over to FOX Sports Ohio for the full explanation.) Which means that we arrived back at our initial suspicion, though through an entirely different lens.
Got that? Good. Basically, it’s a fake story. Still: people can get made about fake stories. And the mere prospect of Derek Anderson returning to the city he threw under the bus was one that got Browns fans to typin.’
For what it’s worth, we really hope that Derek Anderson, who doesn’t believe Cleveland deserves a winner, kindly fulfills his own half-wish by seeking asylum there.
Photo via Getty