Choice topics were on Henry Anderson's postgame plate in the Jets' MetLife Stadium locker room after their loss to the Saints on Saturday night — rejecting kicks and retiring superstars.
The retiring part was more newsworthy, since Andrew Luck, who made a stunning announcement last night confirming that he was ending his NFL playing career, had been teammates with Anderson at both Stanford and Indianapolis.
"When I got there at Stanford, Andrew was just this big name that you hear about, the superstar quarterback at Stanford, and then you get there and he's a totally down-to-earth, normal dude," the Jets defensive lineman recalled. "It was just kind of how he carried himself. Anyone would go up to him and introduce themselves and then he'd say, 'Hey, I'm Andrew Luck.' Like of course we know who you are. He just acted like a totally normal dude."
The approachability continued when Luck reached the pros. So did his toughness. So did the injuries and the rehab, which the QB said overcame his ability to play the game he loves.
"He was a tough dude. He got hit a bunch when I was there and played through a lot of aches and pains," said Anderson, who was Luck's Colts teammate from 2015 until he was traded to the Jets last year. "I know he's the type of guy to push himself pretty hard in rehab and I know he holds himself to a pretty high standard on the field. So yeah, I think mentally it probably just started wearing on him.
"He still had a lot of years ahead of him. It sucks just because he was a fun player to watch when he was out there healthy, and I know he loved playing, he loved being a part of the team. But I'm sure he put a lot of thought into the decision. I'm sure he's going to miss being in the locker room and stuff like that, but mentally, if that's what's best for him, then you can't blame him."
One more subject for Anderson on this night was his ongoing excellence at blocking placekicks. He had two blocks late last season, and this week a scoring change from the Jets' win at Atlanta gave him another, on Giorgio Tavecchio's 52-yard first-quarter attempt.
"I got a very small piece of it, but I think enough to force the miss," Anderson said. "It was not a ton, but on film you can see some guys hear something. There's a little noise that the ball makes when you do block it and you saw some dudes kind of flick their heads because they heard the sound."
Next locker over, Steve McLendon was giving Anderson some love — "The Goose, the GOAT." Anderson appreciated McLendon right back.
"Coach [Brant] Boyer does a good job of coaching us up. We never do full-speed field goal block drills in practice. You don't want to do that with your own guys running straight into them," Anderson said. "But I just try to use my technique and we've got other dudes up there, Big Steve's in there, driving dudes back. ... It's all about just getting knockback."
And, Anderson concluded about getting credit for a preseason blocked kick, "I hope I can get some in the regular season where it actually counts."