New York Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson reflected on the time he spent with the newly retired Andrew Luck after Saturday’s game.
When news of Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement hit East Rutherford on Saturday night, one combatant in the New York Jets-New Orleans Saints preseason tilt felt the impact a little more than others.
Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson played in the Indianapolis Colts’ colors from 2015-17. After the Jets’ 28-13 loss, Anderson reflected on the news, which made its way to each team’s sideline during the course of the game.
“He was a tough dude. He got hit a bunch when I was there and played through a lot of aches and pains,” Anderson recalled, per Randy Lange of the Jets official website.
To his point, Luck missed the entirety of 2017, Anderson’s final tour with the Colts, after shoulder surgery.
“I know he’s the type of guy to push himself pretty hard in rehab and I know he holds himself to a pretty high standard on the field,” Anderson said. “So yeah, I think mentally it probably just started wearing on him.”
Luck would go on to win last season’s NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award after Anderson was traded to the Jets. In Saturday’s reflection, Anderson expressed remorse over the fact Luck would not be able to continue his electrifying NFL journey.
“He still had a lot of years ahead of him. It sucks just because he was a fun player to watch when he was out there healthy, and I know he loved playing, he loved being a part of the team,” he said. “But I’m sure he put a lot of thought into the decision. I’m sure he’s going to miss being in the locker room and stuff like that, but mentally, if that’s what’s best for him, then you can’t blame him.”
Anderson’s professional career is only set to continue. He inked a three-year, $25.2 million contract extension with the Jets in March.
The more recent stages of his Gang Green career has seen Anderson discovering a special team prowess of blocking kicks. He blocked two in as many games in December of last year. He additionally got his hand on a Giorgio Tavecchio kick during a preseason win in Atlanta earlier this month.
Anderson is hoping this newfound prowess carries over into the 2019 regular season, which begins on Sept. 8 against Buffalo.
“There’s a little noise that the ball makes when you do block it and you saw some dudes kind of flick their heads because they heard the sound,” Anderson said in describing his block in Atlanta to Lange. “(Special teams coordinator Brant) Boyer does a good job of coaching us up. We never do full-speed field goal block drills in practice. You don’t want to do that with your own guys running straight into them.
“But I just try to use my technique and we’ve got other dudes up there, (defensive lineman Steve McLendon) is in there, driving dudes back…It’s all about just getting knockback.”
The Jets conclude their preseason slate on Thursday night at home against the Philadelphia Eagles (7:00 p.m. ET, WCBS).