The headline in a Cleveland-area newspaper — you can see it here — that read “Derek Anderson says he’s returning to Cleveland” is both premature and misleading.
It’s grown legs, too, as inaccurate word of Anderson’s return — and inaccurate re-posting of his words — has spread from Twitter account to Twitter account, from media outlet to media outlet, not just the one that published the article.
The story comes from the hiring of Rob Chudzinski as Browns head coach and a post that Anderson made on Facebook the night the hire was made official that said, “Sometimes u just have to go back and take care of some unfinished business.”
It’s Facebook. Sometimes “u” write things without thinking they’ll be reshaped or made into a story. Sometimes, u are wrong.
Chudzinski was in his first year as Browns offensive coordinator in 2007 when Anderson went from backup to Pro Bowler, taking over as the Browns starting quarterback in Game Two, leading the Browns to 10 wins and getting a mega-bucks contract as a restricted free agent in the months that followed. Anderson, Chudzinski and the Browns as a whole crash-landed the following year, leading to a coaching change. Anderson had no success with the Browns in 2009, was released and was Arizona’s part-time starter in 2010.
He’s spent the last two years as Cam Newton’s backup in Carolina, where Chudzinski was the offensive coordinator. In March, Anderson will be a free agent. Maybe his ambiguous “unfinished business” statement was about coming back to the Browns, or maybe it was about something else. Either way, people are talking, tweeting and Facebooking about it.
In the story, one Anderson quote from Facebook was presented. In reality, that quote was pulled from two separate Facebook posts, one that Anderson made and one that Anderson was responding to.
Isn’t social media just grand?
On Friday, someone — and we don’t know if that someone was a friend, family member or just a fan — wrote on Anderson’s Facebook wall, “On another note….welcome back to Cleveland Derek Anderson. Glad I can finally wear your Browns jersey again!”
A discussion ensued, as it often does on Facebook, and later that day Anderson chimed in. Following is exactly what he wrote:
“Fellas..fellas.. U know in my heart I love the city.. Got a little frustrated with the entire situation when I got fired.. But honestly think new ownership will do the right things..if u guys would have me back I’d love to come home.. I have alot of knowledge and have grown up in 3 years away! We could get this thing rolling again like we all know it can! In 2007 we had that place rocking and it was alot of fun!”
Two separate quotes, not one.
Nowhere did Anderson say he is returning, has talked to Chudzinski about returning or claim he should be given another chance. He didn’t even use the term familiar face, as the quote suggested. The race for information on the latest reshaping of the Browns is apparently a fast one, but in this case it’s caused a multi-car pileup.
Anderson becomes an unrestricted free agent in early March. He has no control over which teams are interested in him, and he can’t have discussions with any teams except Carolina until then. He clearly has ties to Chudzinski and knows his offense, but the Browns haven’t even technically hired an offensive staff or a personnel staff yet.
It’s way too early to say Anderson is coming back to Cleveland, or that he said he was. And it’s another example that everything you read on the Internet isn’t necessarily true.