Stamps' Anderson still heartbroken

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:34 PM ET

Despite being seven years removed from a career that once saw him own this town, Kelvin Anderson couldn’t fathom coming back to Calgary to watch Joffrey Reynold eclipse his franchise rushing record Monday.

It has nothing to do with the man who is about to break Anderson’s mark of 8,292 yards.

It has more to do with the way the Stampeders organization broke his heart.

“If they would’ve cut me for Joffrey I would’ve respected it — then I would’ve been proud to come to Calgary,” said Anderson from his home in Sikeston, Mo., where memories of being ousted by NFL bad-boy Lawrence Phillips are still vivid.

“But what pissed me off was how they replaced me with someone totally different than me. I just wanted somebody that was going to carry on like Joffrey did. I wanted someone durable who’d strap it on every Sunday and they didn’t have to worry about the injury list. I didn’t want a one-year guy like Lawrence who I knew wouldn’t cut it.”

Despite seven-straight 1,000-yard seasons en route to two Grey Cup titles in Calgary, Anderson was indeed railroaded by the organization in the end — a casualty of the Michael Feterik regime infatuated with all things NFL.

More to the point, it was then-coach Jim Barker who looked past Phillips’ long list of criminal transgressions in 2003 and pitted the two against one another in a fraudulent camp battle. Truth was, the outcome had been predetermined and Anderson knew it, electing on his way to McMahon one day to simply turn around in the stadium parking lot and decide he was through. When he got back to his room, he says, the message light was on with news he’d been cut. Quite the way to treat the franchise’s most popular, durable and prolific back.

“They could’ve released me earlier instead of making me read crap in the paper every day — they just turned it into a circus,” said the gold-toothed grinner.

“I never did see my locker cleaned out. It’s lucky I didn’t because I probably would’ve lost my mind and told them a couple things. I still easily had two or three years left of football.”

Predictably, Phillips wound up a flop — then in jail — while Anderson joined his former coach Wally Buono in B.C. where he set a CFL record with his eighth-straight century mark before retiring in 2004 with a shattered heart.

“When I left Calgary that was it — that was the only place I wanted to play,” said Anderson, now 38.

“I wanted to retire there. That year in B.C., well, I didn’t feel right wearing the B.C. colours.”

Married with a six-year-old daughter and holding a good job at Sikeston’s local power plant for where he’s advanced over six years to an assistant control operator, Anderson still talks to former teammates in Calgary like Eddie Davis, Marvin Pope and Fred Childress. However, while they have kept Anderson abreast of how remarkably similar Reynolds is to him in terms of his durability and consistency, they somehow forgot to mention those responsible for his ousting have all disappeared.

“Really? Even that Barker dude?” he asks, chuckling upon hearing confirmation.

“Well, that makes me feel good now. Now that those people are gone, maybe I would come to a game down the road. I planned on coming to visit Pope and Eddie and Fred but not nothing the media would’ve known about it.”

However, maybe the door is now open to the type of centre-field sendoff he deserves.

After all, head coach and GM John Hufnagel extended somewhat of an olive branch a few years back by inviting Anderson to be a guest running backs coach in training camp, but the Kelvinator couldn’t get two weeks off work.

“I just loved the city — cleanest and friendliest people who welcome you in. You could feel the love when you did something for them,” said ol’ N. 32.

“Everywhere I went people took care of me. Let ‘em know I miss them.”

Here’s hoping he gets a chance to do it himself.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca


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