Neal Anderson

For those of a similar name, see Neil Anderson (disambiguation).
Neal Anderson
No. 35
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1964-08-14) August 14, 1964
Place of birth: Dothan, Alabama
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
College: Florida
NFL Draft: 1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 1,515
Rushing yards: 6,166
Rushing TDs: 51
Receptions: 302
Receiving yards: 2,763
TD receptions: 20
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Charles Neal Anderson (born August 14, 1964) is an American former college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. Anderson played college football for the University of Florida. He was a first-round pick in the 1986 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the Chicago Bears of the NFL.

Early years

Anderson was born in Graceville, Florida in 1964.[1] He attended Graceville High School,[2] and played for the Graceville Tigers high school football team.

College career

Anderson accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for Charley Pell and Galen Hall's Florida Gators football teams from 1982 to 1985,[3] and shared the Gators' backfield with fullback John L. Williams for four years. Memorably, Anderson ran for a 197 yards versus the Kentucky Wildcats as a freshman in 1982, a seventy-six-yard touchdown against the LSU Tigers in 1983, and 178 yards and an eighty-yard touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers in 1984.[3] He was a team captain in 1985, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection in 1985, an Associated Press honorable mention All-American in 1984 and 1985, and the recipient of the Gators' Fergie Ferguson Award in 1985.[3] In his four years as a Gator, Anderson had fourteen games with 100 yards or more rushing, 639 carries for 3,234 yards rushing and thirty touchdowns, forty-nine receptions for 525 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and ninety-seven yards passing.[3] In terms of career rushing yardage, he remains the Gators' third all-time running back behind Errict Rhett and Emmitt Smith.[3]

Behind the rushing of Anderson, the rushing and receiving of John L. Williams, the receiving of wide receiver Ricky Nattiel and the passing of quarterback Kerwin Bell, the Gators finished with identical best-in-the-SEC records of 9–1–1 in 1984 and 1985.[4] Anderson graduated from Florida with a bachelor's degree in public relations in 1986, and was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1995.[5][6] The sportswriters of The Gainesville Sun selected him as No. 13 among the top 100 all-time greatest Gators from the first 100 years of Florida football in 2006.[7]

Professional career

The Chicago Bears selected Anderson in the first round (27th pick overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft,[8] and he played for the Bears for eight seasons from 1986 to 1993.[9] He joined the franchise as a rookie immediately following the Bears' 1985 championship season. The Bears picked Anderson to back up, and eventually succeed, Walter Payton, who became the Bears and NFL's all-time rushing leader during his lengthy career. After Payton's retirement in 1987, Anderson became the team's starting running back.

Anderson's best years came during the late 1980s, where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.[9] In all three seasons, Anderson scored over ten touchdowns and averaged over four yards per carry. Ultimately, his best season came in 1989, when he rushed for 1,275 yards, received 434 yards, and scored 15 touchdowns. He was invited to the Pro Bowl in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.[1]

Over his eight-year career, Anderson appeared in 116 regular season games, and started 91 of them; he amassed 6,166 yards and scored 51 touchdowns rushing, and 2,763 yards and 20 touchdowns receiving—a career total of 71 touchdowns.[1] Anderson's career was shortened by injuries and the Bears' fall-out during the early 1990s. He is currently the Bears' third all-time franchise rusher, behind Payton and Matt Forté.[10][11]


Note: G = Games played; Att = Rushing attempts; Yds = Rushing yards; Avg = Average yards per carry; Long = Longest rush; Rush TD = Rushing touchdowns; Rec = Receptions; Yds = Receiving yards; Avg = Average yards per reception; Long = Longest reception; Rec TD = Receiving touchdowns

Year Team GP Att Yds Avg Long Rush TD Rec Yds Avg Long Rec TD
1986Chicago Bears14351464.223048020.0581
1987Chicago Bears111295864.5383474679.9593
1988Chicago Bears162491,1064.48012393719.5360
1989Chicago Bears162741,2754.77311504348.7494
1990Chicago Bears152601,0784.152104248411.5503
1991Chicago Bears132107473.6426473687.8263
1992Chicago Bears161565823.7495423999.5306
1993Chicago Bears152026463.2454311605.2350
Career Totals 1161,5156,1664.180513022,7639.15920

Life after football

Anderson now lives with his wife and their three children in the Gainesville area, where he helped found a bank and owns a 2,000-acre (810 ha) peanut farm.[12] He is active in the community.

See also


  1. 1 2 3, Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  2., Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 2012 Florida Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 76, 87, 90, 94, 95, 97, 98, 101, 104, 116, 121, 141–142, 146–148, 151, 152, 154, 156, 176 (2012). Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  4. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1980–1984 and Florida Yearly Results 1985–1989. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  5. F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  6. Antonya English, "Anderson: Big honor, young age," The Gainesville Sun, Sports Weekend section, p. 4 (April 8, 1995). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  7. Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 13 Neal Anderson," The Gainesville Sun (August 21, 2006). Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  8. Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1986 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  9. 1 2 National Football League, Historical Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  10., Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Rushing Career Register. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  11. Jeremy Stoltz, "Forte No. 2 rusher in Bears annals," (November 24, 2013). Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  12. Pat Forde, "Pressure, pigeons and playoff," (November 2, 2010). Retrieved November 3, 2010.


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