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Robbie Anderson "confused" after being sent to locker room

Robbie Anderson

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson said he was more "confused" than angry, and said he didn't necessarily want to be traded despite a number of reports that he was available.

Mostly, he said he wanted to be more involved after he wasn't targeted through three quarters, before he was sent to the locker room in the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 24-10 loss to the Rams.

"I was honestly confused, and upset by it as I should be," Anderson said at a press conference after the game. "I don't see nobody that's a true competitor and knows the value they bring, that's a true competitor and has a true passion for the game that's OK with being told not to do something or being taken out of something when they didn't do anything wrong."

That was his version of the dust-up in the first half, when he got animated on the sidelines during a discussion with receivers coach Joe Dailey. Players and staffers quickly got between them. When that discussion started again in the second half, interim head coach Steve Wilks had seen enough.

"It was a sideline-type situation, that I felt like I wanted to try to get him in at the moment," Wilks said. "It's something we'll discuss as we get further into the week. . . .

"I'm going to say this, no one is bigger than the team. I don't want to focus a lot of attention on one individual."

Wilks said he hadn't talked to Anderson yet, but planned to talk to him "and several other players as well, as we reach out and talk about the game."

Wilks was clear he didn't have a problem with Dailey's reaction, when asked specifically about the first-year assistant. "I'm OK with all the coaches," Wilks said.

Anderson said it was simply about a lack of opportunities. He has 13 catches for 206 yards in six games, including a 75-yard touchdown in the opener against the Browns.

After the game, Anderson said that after talking to general manager Scott Fitterer, he decided to talk to the media. His teammates largely avoided the topic in the locker room after the loss that dropped them to 1-5, either saying they didn't see it, or they didn't want to comment on it.

"I don't want nobody to have a misconception about me," Anderson said when asked why he chose to talk. "Other times in my life I had moments of controversy, and I didn't speak up. . . .

"Certain principles I was raised on are non-negotiable, and before anything, I'm a man. Respect is mandated. Respect is earned, it's not always given."

Anderson was signed in 2020, and responded with career highs in catches and yards (95 receptions for 1,096 yards). After that season, his contract was extended, and he got a raise, and then his numbers dipped significantly last year, with just 53 catches for 519 yards. Of course, everyone's numbers went down last year, when the offense as a whole stagnated. The Panthers changed coordinators in midseason, and had a number of structural and injury issues that kept anyone from excelling.

Anderson said his priority was fixing that, and being a part of it.

"My job is, I'm here to do all I can to help us win," Anderson said. "It's third down, and I'm being taken out of the game. I don't think I should be OK with that. So I made a comment, why am I being taken out. So that's that.

"I have no idea. One thing I do, and one thing I stand on, is I give my all in everything that I do. I don't play this game for money, I don't play this game for fame, I play this game because I love the game of football. Regardless of what's been going on the past weeks, keep my head down and keep working. All I want to do is help this team win a Super Bowl. So that's the ultimate goal."

Anderson's name has been mentioned in multiple reports as a trade candidate, one of many such reports since the team parted ways with Matt Rhule on Monday.

But Anderson denied that he wanted out when asked specifically if he wanted to leave.

"I've been in trade rumors before. It's part of the game," he said. "I don't let it affect me. Like I said, I keep my head down and keep going hard, regardless. . . .

"Nah, I wouldn't say I want to be traded, but I'm going to let God follow his plans he has for my life. I know he has a plan for me, so I'll let things take its course on his timing."

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