Neal Anderson

Neal Anderson
Neal Anderson
No. 35     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: August 14, 1964 (1964-08-14) (age 47)
Place of birth: Graceville, Florida
High School: Graceville High School
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
College: University of Florida
NFL Draft: 1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27
Debuted in 1986 for the Chicago Bears
Last played in 1993 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • Honorable mention All-American (1984, 1985)
  • First-team All-SEC (1985)
  • University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Pro Bowl (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)
Rushing yards     6,166
Yards per carry     4.1
Touchdowns     51
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

Charles Neal Anderson (born August 14, 1964) is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons in the 1980s and 1990s. Anderson played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, 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 received 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]

Professional career

The Chicago Bears selected Anderson in the first round (twenty-seventh pick overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft,[7] and he played for the Bears for eight seasons from 1986 to 1993.[8] 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.[8] 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 fifteen touchdowns. He was invited to the Pro Bowl in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Over his eight-year career, Anderson amassed 6,166 rushing yards and scored fifty-one touchdowns rushing and twenty receiving for a career total of seventy-one touchdowns.[1] Anderson's career was shortened by injuries and the Bears' fall-out during the early 1990s. He is currently the Bears' second all-time franchise rusher, immediately behind his predecessor, Walter Payton (16,726 yards), and immediately ahead of Rick Casares (5,657 yards) and Gayle Sayers (4,956 yards).[9]

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.[10] Anderson also mentors teenagers and helps coach youth football in the community.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b, Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  2. ^, Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 87, 96, 99, 103, 106, 124, 127, 138–140, 144–145, 147–148, 152, 179 (2011). Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  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 July 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Antonya English, "Anderson: Big honor, young age," The Gainesville Sun, Sports Weekend section, p. 4 (April 8, 1995). Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  7. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1986 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  8. ^ a b National Football League, Historical Players, Neal Anderson. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  9. ^, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Rushing Career Register. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Pat Forde, "Pressure, pigeons and playoff," (November 2, 2010). Retrieved November 3, 2010.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0794822983.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196x.

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