CHARLOTTE — Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson said he felt good, after he took a hard shot last week against the Falcons.
Anderson appeared to be shaken up Sunday, but returned to the game quickly. But when asked by reporters about it Wednesday, he was in a more philosophical mood.
"I feel amazing today," Anderson said with a smile at the beginning of his press conference. "Blessed, thankful, had a good day on the practice field, excited for Sunday. Feel great today, thanks for asking."
When asked about his physical status, he said he just had the wind knocked out of him and shrugged it off as "that's football." While he was casual about it, some of his teammates took exception to the hit, and Anderson appreciated the solidarity.
"That's what they're going to do," he said. "Those are my teammates; we're soldiers, we go to war together, so they're going to stand up for me. That's what real brothers do."
Anderson also took a stance of solidarity in terms of his recent production. The shot in Atlanta came on the only pass he was targeted on that day, and combined with recent drops, it's been a rough start to the year for him since signing a contract extension during the preseason. He has 18 catches for 204 yards in eight games so far. Last year, he had career highs with 95 catches for 1,096 yards.
"Knowing the game plan, our focus last week was that we were going to win the game by running the ball," Anderson said. "So me being prepared, knowing I'm going to have to block and give my all. It's a team sport, and the ultimate goal is to win. It's as simple as that."
Anderson also said he considered an offer from coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots the previous offseason before signing with the Panthers in 2020.
"When I was in free agency, he told me 'I'm tired of scheming against you,'" Anderson said of Belichick, before calling it "a business decision" to sign here.
In eight games against the Patriots from his days with the Jets, Anderson was targeted 46 times, and caught 16 passes for 179 yards and no touchdowns.
— Speaking of business, Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore reiterated the line "it's part of the business" several times in discussing his departure from the Patriots.
After last year's quad injury, they talked about a new contract, obviously never reached one, and the Patriots traded him here for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
That said, he expressed nothing but respect for Belichick. The day he was traded here, he said he learned the news because "Bill called me."
"He's a great coach. He studies the game, he prepares a lot, and he's going to have his players ready to play. He's a great coach, and he does that well.
"For sure, I learned a lot there, played a lot of ball there, and became a better player there, preparing and studying. ... That was a chapter in my life where I learned a lot."
— The Panthers added veteran guard Pat Elflein back to the roster Wednesday, though it's unclear when he'll be ready to return to the lineup.
He had been designated to return to injured reserve in Week 6, after his Week 2 hamstring injury against the Saints.
Wednesday was the deadline to activate him to the 53-man roster, and if they didn't, he'd have been out for the season. Because of his experience and the ability to play both guard spots and center, he's valuable to have around.
He's still coming back from a hamstring injury, and was on the practice field Wednesday. But they're likely to stick with the current starting lineup in the short term, with Michael Jordan and Trent Scott at the starting guard spots.
The roster now stands at 51 players.
View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Panthers prepare to take on the Patriots in Week 9.