Arkansas running back Gary Anderson, a first-round draft pick by the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, signed a three-year contract today with the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits.
Anderson also was a first-round pick by the New Jersey Generals in the USFL draft and said he visited that club but never got an offer.
Bandits owner John Bassett said he had to give the Generals a first-round 1984 draft pick, under USFL rules. Financial details were not revealed, but Anderson said the contract included a bonus.
Anderson said he wanted to play football now, not wait until September when the NFL begins. He added he was concerned the Chargers may have wanted him to play wide receiver. "I've played running back all my life," he said.
Anderson, the 20th player taken in the NFL draft, was No. 2 of three Charger first-round picks.
"All our talks (with the Chargers) were about positions," he said. "We never got to prices. Tampa came along and I jumped at it."
Chargers owner Gene Klein said he does not accept the signing as final. "It is not over yet," he said. " . . . I have to believe there is a definite conflict of interest here involving (Jerry) Argovitz."
Klein questioned how Argovitz could be an agent in one league (NFL) and a prospective owner in the USFL. Argovitz, who is not Anderson's representative of record, could not be reached at his Houston office.