For Mario Williams Buffalo was his first free agent visit. For fellow free agent defensive end Mark Anderson it was his last. After meeting with three other NFL clubs interested in his services Anderson signed with the Bills on Wednesday.
"I want to thank God for this opportunity," said Anderson. "I'm thankful for Mr. Wilson for giving me the opportunity to play for this great organization. It's a great college-like atmosphere. The fans are great and the coaches are great. They've given me a great opportunity. I'm very thankful and very happy right now and no words can express how I'm feeling."
Anderson arrived in Buffalo Tuesday evening and met with members of the Bills defensive staff. His visit with the club continued on Wednesday and wrapped up in short order as a contract agreement was finalized by early afternoon.
"We got ourselves a new pass rusher to add to our defense and it really is a big deal for us and an exciting time. We feel he'll make us a lot better," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "He's had a lot of visits and a lot of offers and I think he made his choice because he wants to put his hand on the ground and rush the passer and that's what we're looking for."
The seven-year veteran made free agent visits with Miami, Tennessee and Baltimore before meeting with the Bills. Jacksonville also expressed interest.
Anderson is a proven pass rush weapon coming off a 10-sack season in a rotational role for the New England Patriots in 2011. Anderson also led the Patriots in quarterback pressures last season with 36.
"He's got some speed and quickness off the edge, which is hard to find," said Bills head coach Chan Gailey. "He has savvy about his play. You could see him continue to get better this past year. He was tough to block for us."
Anderson will presumably compete for the starting right defensive position knowing the plan is for fellow free agent signee Mario Williams to start at left end in Dave Wannstedt's 4-3 defensive scheme.
"I think I'm going to have a pretty good opportunity," Anderson told Buffalobills.com. "Just the chance to be on this defense, there are a lot of guys on this defense that can play ball that I've seen in my time in the league. I feel it's going to be a great situation and I'm real excited about coming here."
Set to turn 29 in May, Anderson is a former teammate of Mario Williams as both played for the Houston Texans in 2010. Both along with Bills DT Kyle Williams are members of the 2006 draft class.