For the second year in a row, a member of the Bengals' coaching staff will be honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a group promoting diversity, when they hold their annual awards show during the NFL Combine next week. As the Pollard Alliance celebrates their 10-year anniversary, they'll honor recently retired Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year, the group honored owner Mike Brown with the Game Ball award for helping level the playing field for minorities.
Anderson coached Bengals running backs for 29 years before he decided to retire following the 2012 season. In that period of time, he coached seven different running backs to 1,000-yard seasons, 14 backs had 100-yard games and one of his backs reached 1,000 yards in 18 of his 29 seasons.
"We think 29 years is something to be proud of," said John Wooten, chairman of the Pollard Alliance. "I don't even know how many head coaches Jim worked for in Cincinnati (five), but he's the same pillar of strength and character that he's always been. Just work your butt off and be the best you can be."
The Pollard Alliance is happy that Hue Jackson, another African American coach, was named the team's new running backs coach after Anderson's retirement and that the Bengals saw it fit to also give him the title of "special assistant to the head coach."
"It shows all over the importance of doing things right and meaningful," Wooten said. "Hue Jackson is a very special coach. He's one of these old-fashioned coaches that can coach any position. He's a throwback to the days of (Vince) Lombardi and Paul Brown. Hue Jackson did a heck of a job in Oakland a couple of years ago and got pushed out or fired or whatever you want to call it.
"I think Marvin or Mike would be the first to tell you he's come in there and done a heck of a job for them. Look at what he did for (T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson). Those kids were as fine as receivers as you could find."
If Jackson has the same success that Anderson did when it comes to coaching Bengals running backs, especially since the team is expected to select a new running back in the first few rounds of the upcoming draft to complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals backfield will be in good hands.