Eagles sign receiver/returner Joe Anderson

Eagles sign receiver/returner Joe Anderson
February 7, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Joe Anderson hasn't caught a pass in nine career games, but he has run back five kickoffs for 82 return yards. (USA Today Images)

The Eagles made another addition to their wide receiver group Friday, signing former Bears receiver/kick returner Joe Anderson.

Anderson, a 2012 rookie free agent signing out of Texas Southern, appeared in nine career games in two seasons with Chicago but has no career receptions. He has 82 return yards on five kickoffs.

Anderson, 25, appeared in six games this past season but went on injured reserve with an abdominal and groin injury that ended his season. He made one special teams tackle before getting injured.

The Eagles should have some competition at training camp for their bottom-roster receiver spots. Third-year receiver Damaris Johnson, another return specialist, hasn’t dazzled and lost his kick-return job this past season to veteran Brad Smith. Jeff Maehl made sporadic contributions and B.J. Cunningham finished the season on the practice squad with Will Murphy.

At the moment, the Eagles are deep at receiver, but Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper are headed for free agency.

Anderson had been released by the Bears with an injury settlement, so the Eagles were able to sign him before the free agent period, which starts March 8. He’s the second wide receiver signed by the Eagles this offseason, joining Ifeanyi Momah, who was with the Eagles at training camp last year but released on the final cutdown date.

Anderson appeared in the Bears’ last three games of the 2012 season and made the team with an impressive 2013 preseason.

In the first half of an 18-16 preseason loss to the Browns, Anderson drew praise from Bears head coach Marc Trestman after he caught all four passes thrown in his direction for 64 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown from Jordan Palmer and a 37-yard strike.

“Joe Anderson was the same Joe Anderson we saw all during training camp, playing hard, playing fast and being very efficient and catching the football," Trestman told reporters. "He showed it again tonight. He made plays. He made some awkward catches. Everything we saw during practice he has proven he can do under the lights, no doubt about it. 

“He's right there in the mix. There will be some tough decisions in these 53, but I think regardless of what happens there, he has shown that he can certainly play in this league."