Sports column: Nick Anderson is not sitting idly by after release from Saints

Published 4:00 am Sunday, September 24, 2023

Every week, Nick Anderson says, he’s sitting and waiting for the phone to ring with a second chance at an NFL career.

That’s about the only thing he’s sitting around and waiting for, however. Ever since he was released by the New Orleans Saints at the end of training camp in August he’s been busy with a bunch of other projects.

The Vicksburg High graduate and former Tulane linebacker is starting a company. He’s hosting a podcast. He’s dwelling on the positive and never on the negative, cherishing the big moments he’s already enjoyed while staying ready for the next one to come along.

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“I always look at it as, everything happens for a reason. I’m always going to be one of those people that takes a positive outlook on everything. I looked at this time right now as God is giving me time to get everything in line for when I go back,” Anderson said. “That’s one of the things a lot of guys don’t do. They get told a ‘no’ and give up on everything. They sit there and don’t push forward. I’ve never really looked at me getting released from the Saints as a ‘no.’ I’ve looked at everything as being a ‘not yet.’”

Anderson signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May and played in all three preseason games. He totaled eight tackles.

In the final game, a 17-13 loss to the Houston Texans, Anderson led the Saints out of the tunnel before the game. It was a once in a lifetime moment that he said was a fortuitous accident.

“The starters didn’t play, so walking up in the tunnel that’s just how it fell. Me, Anthony Johnson and Adrian Frye were just standing there like, ‘We’re at the front. Let’s do it!’” Anderson said with a laugh. “That was amazing. When those doors opened and the smoke going up, and running through the smoke and seeing the flashing lights and the fans … man, I wish I could’ve had a camera on my helmet so everybody could’ve seen it from my perspective. It was lovely. It was one of those small things that you appreciate because everybody doesn’t get that opportunity.”

Anderson got plenty of other opportunities during the preseason that many undrafted free agents don’t. As a personable local player from Tulane, he quickly became a fan favorite. He was featured in several social media videos by the team and was a frequent interview guest among New Orleans media.

Even though he didn’t make the Saints’ opening day roster, Anderson said he did his best to seize on the unique situation presented to him. Marketability, he said, is as important for a pro athlete as getting the job done on the field.

“That’s a testament to my mom and my grandfather, and the things they instilled in me when I was at Vicksburg High School. Being that person who has a neat, clean image, that takes pride in your character and the person who you are when you don’t have a helmet on,” Anderson said. “That resonates when you get to the NFL, because at the end of the day the NFL is a business. If you’re not a person who is marketable, who has high character, or has off-the-field issues, you’re not going to last long.”

Anderson is far from done with football. He said his agent has stayed in contact with a number of NFL teams, including the Saints, as they wait for a roster spot to open up. With injuries and the weekly roster churn, that could happen on any given Sunday.

“You can get called up at any moment. So the fact I was able to get in the preseason and get good special teams film going, and then that last game get in at the end and show my value at linebacker, really helped my stock,” Anderson said. “That’s been one of the positives. It’s all about staying ready for your opportunity.”

In the meantime, he’s got those other projects going as well. He’s starting a company that will be centered around the community outreach work he’s been doing for years.

On Friday, the first episode of his “Talkin’ That Yea” podcast debuted. Along with his co-host and former Tulane teammate Larry Brooks, Anderson got the idea from watching other podcasts and YouTube videos.

The two will use their various contacts to land guests who tell their stories, while the hosts offer their own takes on other subjects. The podcast will be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube and many other podcast apps.

“The whole idea is for us to get on and do updates on Tulane football, what’s going on in the world, and also bring people on that come from different professional backgrounds to interview them and get their perspectives on different things. I’m looking forward to it for sure,” Anderson said.

Anderson was one of nearly 1,200 players who were released by NFL teams at the end of training camp. What separates him from the pack — and what has always separated him — is a uniquely positive perspective on life and an ability to think a few moves ahead.

Nick Anderson has always been a player folks in Vicksburg have rooted for to succeed. Even if his football career has hit a speed bump, it looks like he’ll give us just as much to root for and be proud of off of it. He’s a reminder that, just because one dream doesn’t pan out, it might just be an avenue to realize another.

“You can’t be one of those guys who hits a little adversity and you turn your back on everything and shut down,” Anderson said. “That’s not what people want to deal with. It’s been a blessing to be in a situation where I can still get out and get things accomplished even though I’m waiting to get placed on a team.”

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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