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NFL notes: Broncos rookie C.J. Anderson getting noticed
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

An undrafted college free agent has made Denver's Week 1 roster in each of the last nine seasons. C.J. Anderson aims to keep that streak going.

The former University of California running back has been the untold story of the Broncos' training camp, toiling as he has behind second-round draft pick Montee Ball, second-year speedster Ronnie Hillman and former first-rounder Knowshon Moreno in Denver's dynamic backfield.

Nobody's talking about him trumping that trio anytime soon, but he's certainly put himself into the mix for making the 53-man roster after rushing for a game-high 69 yards on 15 carries Thursday night in Denver's 10-6 preseason win at San Francisco.

Although Anderson isn't as assignment-sound or as consistent as those three backs ahead of him on the depth chart, Jacob Hester, Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson could find themselves the victims of Anderson's solid summer if he has another preseason game or two like he did Thursday night.

"We're bringing him along," offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. "[He's a] younger guy that was an undrafted free agent; you can't just throw him right in with what's going on with the 1s. It's a process for him, and I think he's trying to get caught up to speed as quickly as possible."

With the Broncos getting better, it's becoming harder and harder for undrafted college free agents to crack their roster, but Anderson practices and plays with a nastiness befitting his status as an overlooked, underappreciated back who uses his snub of draft weekend as a burning ember in his belly.

"At the end of the day, they all say, 'You're here, it doesn't matter how you got here,' " Anderson said. "Terrell Davis was drafted in the sixth round. They always talk about him a lot. Rod Smith was undrafted, on the practice squad and they always talk about him a lot and he's done some things. So, the organization is known for undrafted players to step up and make plays and I'm just trying to put myself in that category."

Cruz leads Giants to win over Steelers

Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 57-yard touchdown pass and the New York Giants beat the host Pittsburgh Steelers 18-13 in the preseason opener for both teams Saturday night.

Cruz slipped by William Gay and Troy Polamalu, then outran Ryan Clark to score on his first reception since signing a $43 million contract in the offseason. Manning finished 2 of 5 for 73 yards. The Giants scored on both drives the offensive starters were in.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 4 of 8 passes for 36 yards for Pittsburgh.

Around the league

Jaguars • Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley had receiver Justin Blackmon and defensive end Jason Babin in his office Saturday morning, hours after the two got into it on the sideline during the team's preseason opener. "I'm not going to say that there was [nothing] between Justin and Jason Babin," Bradley said. "… But it was a lot smaller than what I initially thought."

Chargers • Rookie linebacker Manti Te'o will sit out this week with a sprained right foot and miss San Diego's game at Chicago on Thursday. Te'o wore a walking boot while watching practice. —

Preseason schedule

Saturday

• N.Y. Giants 18, Pittsburgh 13

Sunday

• Buffalo at Indianapolis, 11:30 a.m.

NFL notes • RB Anderson just hoping for a chance to stick.
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