A TRAGIC TALE OF INCREDIBLE HEROISM
During the research done on the many players to have appeared only a handful of times for the Buccaneers, we have tracked down some great and some sad stories. But one that we recently found was a story of total sacrifice and heroism.
Jerry Anderson played only two games for the Bucs at the beginning of 1978 before sustaining a knee injury that placed him on IR for the rest of that season. He then failed to make the team the following fall in training camp and retired from the NFL.
On May 29, 1984, Jerry Anderson waded into a flooded building in Tulsa, OK, to carry a small girl to safety as the water rose. On May 27, 1989, almost exactly five years later, Jerry Anderson dived into the rushing, rain-swollen Stones River and pushed a young boy to safety. This time, Mr. Anderson was unable to get out of the water, and he drowned, leaving a wife and two daughters.
Jerry Anderson had just moved back to his hometown in Tennessee, where he starred in football. He was supposed to start a new job the following week, and planned to enroll in college to finish up the credits he needed for his degree.
People in Oklahoma may remember Jerry Anderson. He played on the Oklahoma Sooners 1975 national championship team. People in Cincinnati and Tampa may also remember him, because he played on those two cities' National Football League teams. He ended his playing career with the Hamilton Cats of the Canadian Football League, where a knee injury sidelined him.
Back in Murfreesboro, Jerry Anderson decided to go fishing with two young cousins the day he died. When the group approached the river, they saw that two other children had just fallen into the current. One managed to swim out, but the other could not. Never thinking of himself, Jerry immediately dived into the water to save the boy. Somehow, the exertion was too much this time, and he could not save himself. Neighbors got a boat and tried to save him, pulling him from the water, but they were too late.
According to officer Bill Todd, "Mr. Anderson jumped in the water and managed to get the little boys out, but witnesses said he went under two or three times and about the fourth time, he didn't come back up."