LB Anderson Optimistic He’ll Be Back With Panthers

Panthers linebacker James Anderson got his first extended playing time late in the 2009 season. A starter for the final six weeks of the season, Anderson totaled 45 tackles and his first quarterback sack since 2006, his rookie season.

Injuries to Dan Connor and Thomas Davis created an opportunity for Anderson to turn in a career-year, posting a team-high 130 tackles, including 13.5 for a loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks, and recording his first NFL interception.

After two years of playing under the restricted free agent tender (both original round tenders totaling $2.186 million), Anderson is set to be an unrestricted free agent when the 2011 league year begins. Though several teams are in need of an upgrade at linebacker — the Detroit Lions and New York Giants immediately come to mind — Anderson is optimistic he’ll be back with the Panthers, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

“Before the lockout I talked to (general manager) Marty (Hurney), and the Panthers were saying they wanted to bring me back. But since then we really can’t talk so when free agency starts we’ll see what happens,” Anderson said.

“I want to stay in Charlotte. No doubt about it. I’ve been here my whole time and I love the city, so I would love to stay.”

A third-round pick (88th overall) out of Virginia Tech, Anderson has 236 tackles, 6.5 quarterback sacks, and the one interception in 66 career games.

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