As Derek Anderson’s stay in the NFL’s concussion protocol dragged on, concern grew.
The Buffalo Bills’ veteran quarterback was hurt against the New England Patriots on Oct. 29, but didn’t receive medical clearance until last Friday. As days turned into weeks, it became less about Anderson being able to play again and more about him having a healthy life outside of football.
Anderson, who spoke to the media for the first time Wednesday since being cleared, admitted that he was concerned early on, too.
“In the beginning yes, but then once I got clarification on what was going on, I was fine with it,” he said following practice. “We made sure we went through everything. The doctor was like, ‘You’re going to be OK. This isn’t something that’s going to be long term.’ Then, I was good with it. Obviously I’ve got kids and stuff that I’ve got to worry about, too.”
Anderson said he “couldn’t get right” in the five or six days following the Patriots’ game.
“I had some thing things going that I couldn’t shake,” he said. "They were just like, ‘Hey, just hang out and it’ll go away.’ I saw a bunch of doctors and got some clarification and eventually it went away.”
Anderson has been able to practice on a limited basis since the Bills’ bye week. He said he’s felt great for about the last month.
“Being out there the last couple weeks has been enjoyable, to say the least,” he said. “Unfortunately it took a little while, but we came through it.”
Anderson was inactive Sunday as the third quarterback, filling the role he was supposed to when he was signed – that of a veteran mentor for Josh Allen.
“Don’t get me wrong: I had fun playing, though,” he said. “Obviously didn’t get the results that we wanted, but being out there again and being able to play was a lot of fun. Now I’m more of a teacher and another set of eyes for Josh and Matt (Barkley). We’ve got a good room. The conversations we have in there are good. Josh is picking things up quicker and quicker every week.”
Despite the severity of his concussion, Anderson said he would have no reservations about playing again.
“This is the profession that I chose,” he said. “I’m very well aware of the long-term effects, things that go on. The ability to make money that I couldn’t do elsewhere, provide for my family, I’d go back out there tomorrow.”
The Bills’ injury report Wednesday showed how long the NFL season can be. A whopping 10 players were listed on the report. Two of them, defensive tackle Kyle Williams (back) and cornerback Ryan Lewis (concussion), did not practice. The rest were limited. That list includes: running backs LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (shoulder), kicker Stephen Hauschka (hip), defensive end Trent Murphy (chest), fullback Patrick DiMarco (ankle), linebacker Corey Thompson (ankle), wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (ankle) and tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring).
The Bills were shut out of the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, failing to have a player selected for the first time since 2012. Coach Sean McDermott was asked Wednesday about the snub.
“We’re about winning games. Sometimes, when you have the year that we’ve had, sometimes you don’t get the recognition,” he said. “We’ve had guys that have had some really good individual performances. Usually, those are coming out of what somebody else is doing in the play that’s a factor for them. I’m happy that the guys that did get recognized, albeit alternates, got recognized, deservingly so. As we continue to build this roster, those are things that will come as we move forward.”