Anderson apologizes to Cleveland fans

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By The Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Like one of his errant passes, quarterback Derek Anderson sent a rocket at Browns fans he wishes he could take back.

Anderson apologized to Cleveland fans Wednesday after calling them “ruthless” and adding they “don’t deserve a winner” following his release by the team.

The former Oregon State star was let go by the Browns on Tuesday, ending an uneven five-year stint. In an e-mail to The (Willoughby) News-Herald, a frustrated Anderson criticized Browns fans and said he will never forget that some of them cheered when he was injured.

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“The fans are ruthless and don’t deserve a winner,” Anderson wrote. “I will never forget getting cheered when I was injured. I know at times I wasn’t great. I hope and pray I’m playing when my team comes to town and (we) roll them.”

When Anderson sustained a knee injury in a 2008 game against Indianapolis, some Browns fans cheered as he laid on the field in pain. Despite making the Pro Bowl in 2007, the majority of Cleveland fans wanted the club to start Brady Quinn, a first-round draft pick in 2007.

On Wednesday, Anderson sent an e-mail to Cleveland media members saying he regrets some of his comments.

“Those of you who got to know me personally from covering the Browns over the past five years, know this was out of character for me,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t taken out of context, but I was speaking out of frustration after my career with the Browns came to a close. I had some great times playing in Cleveland, especially during the 2007 season, and I met some great people and made many lifelong friends along the way.

“I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life.”

Anderson’s release came one day after the Browns acquired backup Seneca Wallace in a trade from Seattle. Anderson was due a $2 million roster bonus on March 19.

The 26-year-old is expected to draw interest from several teams and will reportedly visit Arizona and Seattle this week.

Pats’ Wilfork: Ready to work harder after big contract

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork says he is ready to push himself harder and ask others to work harder on the field after he signed a long-term contract that will keep him with the New England Patriots.

Wilfork said Wednesday that team leaders and other players need to regain confidence they lost last season that each can count on the other on the field.

Wilfork has just 5 1/2 sacks in his career but is primarily concerned with occupying more than one blocker so his teammates can get at the quarterback or ball carrier.

Wilfork had 65 tackles last season, most among Patriots defensive linemen and fifth on the team, in 13 games. He missed the last three games with a foot injury and returned for the team’s only playoff game, a 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Tomlinson to visit with Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS — LaDainian Tomlinson is coming to Minnesota for a visit, and the Vikings believe he could be a good fit.

Tomlinson is scheduled to meet with coach Brad Childress and other members of the organization on Thursday. The 2006 NFL MVP was released by the San Diego Chargers last month after the least-productive season of his prolific nine-year career.

The Vikings are looking for another running back since Chester Taylor signed with the Chicago Bears.

Childress said Wednesday he wants “to see where his mind is at.” Childress said he assumes the 30-year-old Tomlinson realizes he’d have to accept a reduced role as a backup to All-Pro Adrian Peterson.

“I would think he knows that, but I always want to over-communicate clarity so we won’t hopscotch around that,” Childress said. “We’ll have to show him what his role will be.”

The coach said he had a “great conversation” on the phone with Tomlinson on Tuesday.

“Interrupted him on the golf course. Looking out my window I said, ‘Well, I can’t lie to you. It’s not a tropical paradise here or anything like that,'” Childress said, referring to the Metrodome. “But that’s why we’ve got a roof on the place.”

Typical for an oft-used NFL running back his age, Tomlinson has been on the decline since totaling more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage and 31 touchdowns in his MVP season in 2006. Last year was the first time since he was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2001 that he didn’t reach 1,000 yards rushing.

Tomlinson had 12 touchdowns and 730 yards on 223 carries for a paltry 3.3-yard average in 2009. His experience, sure hands and usefulness in the passing game, however, are important parts of the job description. Peterson, who turns 25 later this month, has had a problem with fumbling. He frequently was replaced by Taylor on third downs.

Childress dismissed the notion of Tomlinson as a possible tutor for Peterson.

“That’s not in the equation,” the coach said. “We’re kind of measuring him more as a football player and as a person, as a man, as a competitor — and how much he has left to be able to contribute to this team.”

Tomlinson’s agent, Tom Condon, declined to comment about visits for Tomlinson with other teams.

At his farewell to San Diego news conference last month, Tomlinson said he thinks he can play for as many as four more seasons. He ranks eighth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 12,490 yards. His 138 career rushing touchdowns rank second.

He doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring, a goal the Vikings came close to reaching themselves last season before an overtime loss in the NFC championship game in New Orleans to the eventual champion Saints.

“You don’t really want to go somewhere and get your brains beat out,” Childress said. “You want to go and have a chance to win and compete and win that ultimate prize.”

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