Some guys come out of nowhere. Doesn't happen often, but it happens.
C.J. Anderson is one of those guys. He has a championship ring and isn't afraid to tell you about it. Brag on, No. 22. You earned it. It will be a while before I forget C.J.'s improbable rise from undrafted free agent to Super Bowl 50 champion. His flashy training camp in 2013 had caught my eye so I wrote about it, and the timing of this column (from Aug. 15, 2013) is what jumps out. It was a Thursday during the tail end of training camp that Anderson busted a knee during practice. Major injuries that happen on Thursdays during the tail end of training camps are usually injuries that prevent an NFL rise like Anderson's. He made sure it didn't.
There have been better Broncos running backs than Anderson. He's ninth in career rushing yards (3,051 for Anderson), right behind Clinton Portis (3,099) and right ahead of Jon Keyworth (2,653). Even the man who released him on Monday, John Elway, had more rushing yards (3,407).
But I'm unsure if there's been a more unlikely success story. Anderson once told me the story of how he would sneak into Cal football games as a kid because he couldn't afford a ticket. Years later, he bought his dear grandmother a new car with his first big NFL paycheck to replace her broken-down '97 Saturn. He's also started a foundation for youth in his native Vallejo, Calif. Where do the two parties go from here? There will be options for Anderson, and the Broncos have issues other than running back (and running back, too!) they must address.
But Anderson's is a success story that already has a happy ending. He's got a ring that he should be happy to tell you about.