Conversation with McDaniel convinced Anderson that Dolphins homecoming was right place to get career on track

·5 min read

New Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chosen Anderson, the Broward County product formerly known as Robby Anderson, is at a potential crossroads in his NFL career.

In a new setting back home, he can either return to the high levels of production he was known for through his first six NFL seasons or fall by the wayside as a journeyman wideout in his later years after a 2022 season where he himself deemed he “disappointed” in a Tuesday web conference call with reporters.

Anderson saw career lows of 20 receptions for 282 yards and a lone touchdown in 2022, a season where he split time between the Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. He was kicked out of an October game against the Rams by then-Panthers coach Steve Wilks for an argument with position coach Joe Dailey. Anderson was then traded to Arizona, made just seven catches in 10 games and was ultimately released early in the offseason for cap space.

But a conversation with Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel convinced Anderson, who turned 30 Tuesday, that a return home for the South Plantation High alum was the right move for a turnaround.

“It was a conversation that was very, honestly, fulfilling for me,” Anderson said of his communication with Miami’s coach ahead of a mid-April decision. “I felt that, over the years, a lot of things that he’s noticed about my game, what I’ve gone through, what I’ve been working toward, he’s noticed that and made that very evident.

“It felt good to finally hear that from a coach, a great coach, too. A coach that’s had a lot of success and knows what it takes to be successful. Our conversation, we really connected. We had instant chemistry and, pretty much, we were on the same page about everything.”

A new setting with a new approach from a player-friendly coach and a new name as he enters a new decade in age. It could all present the fresh start Anderson needs to get back on track.

Anderson said he could see the downfall with the Panthers developing last season.

“The trade (from Carolina to Arizona), I feel like it was difficult, but that’s what brings out the best — those hard times,” Anderson said. “I grew a lot from the situation.

“Being in Arizona was a very peaceful time for me. I found a lot of peace being out there. … I grew from it, and that’s what’s molded me to be who I am today.”

Anderson, with his deep-ball speed and long 6-foot-3 frame, still has the tools to put up numbers. His time in Carolina started out that way, when he established a career high of 1,096 receiving yards in 2020, his first with the Panthers after four productive seasons with the New York Jets. He has 375 career receptions for 4,956 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career.

Originally going by Robby Anderson, then Robbie and now Chosen in a switch early this offseason, Anderson declined to offer the reason for the name change, citing the intimate nature of the decision.

“It was a positive, positive thing. I’ll touch on it at a different time,” he said. “It’s a positive meaning behind it. It’s something I’m very grateful, and something I feel strongly about.”

The weekend he announced he agreed to terms with the Dolphins, he had family and friends together for an outing. He revealed the news that he was returning to South Florida by pulling out a jersey of his new quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, in front of his party.

“He’s the head in charge,” Anderson said of why he chose that method to announce it among those closest to him before word got out. “The only other one I considered was Dan Marino, but when I went to the store, I didn’t see it in there.”

And Anderson has an appreciation for Tagovailoa’s journey.

“I have a lot of respect for Tua,” he said. “He’s a very cool dude, very down to earth. I’m familiar with his culture, and they’re very loving, caring, family-oriented individuals. You feel that presence, and you feel that being around him.

“Seeing what he’s gone through in his career and what he is now, what he’s working toward, wish the best for him, and I’m here to offer my best to make him be his best.”

Anderson, who was born in Teaneck, New Jersey but grew up in Broward County playing high school football at South Plantation before a college career at Temple, called it “a dream come true” to play for his hometown team. He has his share of Dolphins memories growing up.

“I remember those Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Ricky Williams days. I remember, when they win games, the ‘Miami Dolphins’ song playing across the radio.

“I really remember too, when they came out with the Wildcat offense with Williams and Ronnie Brown and struck everybody by surprise. Chris Chambers and all that.”

Now he gets to be coached by another former Dolphins receiver and NFL great, Wes Welker, who is Miami’s receivers coach.

“I’m thankful to be coached by somebody that played at such a high level,” he said. “Just all ears and just listening to everything.”

Being back in South Florida, Anderson said he wants to devote time to give back to the community that raised him.