Ryan Anderson played both ways for the Redskins on Sunday, serving as Adrian Peterson’s lead blocker in his occasional fullback role on third-and-short and forcing a key fumble in the fourth quarter from his more familiar linebacker position. Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, relegated to backup status after throwing four interceptions in Week 8, watched the game unfold from the sideline with a visor on his head.
After Washington’s 16-3 win, Anderson and Winston met in the tunnel leading to the locker rooms beneath Raymond James Stadium to partake in an increasingly common postgame ritual: the signed jersey swap. Anderson and Winston have an interesting history, which began with the Alabama natives nearly coming to blows the first time they met during a noncontact 7-on-7 tournament ahead of their senior years of high school. Anderson was in the process of transitioning to inside linebacker at the time, while Winston was the top QB in the state.
“I was struggling with some coverage stuff and they were beating us and he was the No. 1 quarterback,” Anderson told ESPN’s John Keim last year. “They had an angle route on me and they scored. They came back out for the two-point conversion and [Winston] winked at me.”
Anderson didn’t appreciate the gesture and responded by drilling Winston’s intended receiver on a crossing route on the next play. Again, 7-on-7 football is supposed to be noncontact.
“I just tried to kill him,” Anderson said.
Words were exchanged. Anderson and Winston exchanged shoves.
“It was almost a fight,” Glenn Vickery, Anderson’s coach at Daphne High School, told AL.com in 2016.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” Anderson told Keim of Winston last year. “I ain’t talked to him in a minute, but he’s a good dude.”
"We’ve been cool ever since,” Anderson told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay, who recounted the backstory that led to Sunday’s jersey swap and postgame hug on the latest “Redskins Talk” podcast.
Now Anderson, a second-round draft pick of the Redskins last year, has a keepsake from a game in which he delivered one of the more powerful — and completely legal — punches you’ll ever see on a football field. Early in the fourth quarter, Anderson chased down Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers from behind and punched the football so hard that it traveled 20 yards in the air before Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recovered it in the end zone for a touchback. Maybe Rodgers winked at Anderson before the play.
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