TDBH: Pollard Alliance honors ex-RBs coach Anderson for lifetime achievement

Posted Feb 12, 2018

This Day in Bengals History - February 12, 2013

Word out of Paul Brown Stadium today is that recently retired Jim Anderson is to receive the Fritz Pollard Alliance lifetime achievement award for his 29 seasons as the Bengals running backs coach. For the second straight year a member of the Bengals receives a major honor from the diversity group during its annual awards reception at next week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Bengals president Mike Brown, recipient of last year's Game Ball for making a difference in leveling the playing field for minorities, is set to present Anderson with the honor.  "We think 29 years is something to be proud of," says John Wooten, chairman of the Pollard Alliance. "I don't even know how many head coaches Jim worked for in Cincinnati (five), but he's the same pillar of strength and character that he's always been. Just work your butt off and be the best you can be."

Wooten, who played his first four seasons as an NFL guard for Bengals founder Paul Brown when Brown coached Cleveland, has an easy reference point when recognizing Anderson as one of the league's early successful African-American coaches. "Jim was hired by the late great Paul Brown, who I think was an outstanding evaluator of people as well as football talent," Wooten says of that 1984 hire. "Paul had a real feel for what a person was about." The most indelible memory of Anderson's NFL career may be his first as he interviews for the Bengals job on the field of the East-West Shrine Game. "There I am watching Paul Brown evaluate talent," Anderson says. "It seems like it was yesterday. I'm humbled by the honor. It's really a tremendous event in my life."

Paul Brown also evaluates Anderson that day and the decision to hire him helps yield his franchise 10 Pro Bowl seasons in the backfield, 18 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 14 different 100-yard rushers. But in the last 10 years Wooten also relies on Anderson to help him with the Pollard Alliance as a liaison to the NFL coaches. Anderson has been there near the creation of the Alliance; close enough that he hits it off well with Johnnie L. Cochran, the larger-than-life lawyer who helps shepherd The Alliance to reality. They bond over their membership in the same fraternity—Kappa Alpha Psi—and greet each other as fellow Kappas. "He's been our representative ever since we've been on board," Wooten says of Anderson. "Every single time, wherever we've called on him, the Senior Bowl, or wherever, to stand up and talk for us, he's been that guy. He's been a model of stability. And doing it the right way all the time."

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