By the end of Robby Anderson's four-year stint with the Jets, the wide receiver had established himself as a star in New York. That doesn't mean the wideout was enjoying his time in green and white.
Anderson revealed this week that playing for the Jets took a toll on his mental health.
"I felt like I was losing my love for football," he said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer. "It was days I wouldn’t even want to go to the building like I didn’t like feeling like that ... there was just a lot of things. I just wasn’t genuinely happy there all the time."
Over his first four years in the NFL, Anderson accumulated 3,059 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns with the Jets. An undrafted free agent out of Temple, Anderson quickly blossomed into New York's No. 1 option at wide receiver.
Then, this past offseason, Anderson inked a two-year deal worth $12 million guaranteed to sign with the Panthers. The 27-year-old had a career year in 2020 with Carolina, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career (ending up with 1,096 receiving yards). He had more receptions (95) than he's ever had before in the NFL.
Anderson said leaving the Jets was "one of the best decisions" he's made and that playing in Carolina has been a "new breath of air." He clarified that he never felt close to quitting while donning a Jets uniform, but that it was a continuous struggle.
"It was a situation I had to fight through and build through and find positivity and also within myself, look myself in the mirror and understand why things were certain ways, and I had to make personal change as well," he explained.
New York certainly could've used Anderson's services this season. The Jets finished the season with the worst offense for the second year in a row. Quarterback Sam Darnold was often throwing to third-string wideouts due to a slew of injuries at the position.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas said back in November that he regrets allowing Anderson walk in free agency, putting the blame on himself.
"That’s on me ultimately and that’s on us moving forward to get a better handle on every player’s market value," Douglas said. "Honestly, we would all love to see Robby here, doing what he’s doing, but I tip my hat to the success he has. But obviously, we don’t want to be in the business or losing good players."
Anderson's comments on his mental health are reminiscent to another star that started his career with the Jets and joined a new team this past offseason.
Safety Jamal Adams opened up about his battle with depression while playing in New York a few months ago, feelings that contributed to his eventual breakup with the organization last summer.
"I love New York. I love the fans," Adams said on the 'All Things Covered' podcast. "But I couldn't fight it, it was so negative and I couldn't do it anymore. It was taking a toll on my life. It was taking a toll on my family and the relationships I had. It was killing me."