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Former Buffalo Bills player comes home to Smithville

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    Smithville ISD Athletic Director Cyril Adkins welcomes former Smithville Mary A. Brown High School and Buffalo Bills football player Max Anderson back to Smithville as he inspired the students in a pep rally.
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    Smithville students celebrate Tiger Pride during their pep rally.

Former Buffalo Bills football player Max Arthur Anderson returned to Smithville to inspire the local football team.

Anderson was a 1964 graduate of Mary A. Brown High School, Smithville's former-all black high school. Anderson was a member of the 1963 state champion football team, which was the only team from Bastrop County to win a state championship. While in high school he scored close to 60 touchdowns, including six touchdowns in one game, but official records do not give an exact number.

Anderson was recognized on Friday in Smith-ville at the Tigers Pep Rally and later that evening at the football game against Columbus.

After being introduced to the assembly at Smithville High, Anderson, 74, jokingly told the students “I didn’t always look like this when I played football in Smithville. I used to be six feet, two inches tall.” He is actually five feet and eight inches tall.

His speech to the Smith-ville players and students was well-received. He gave an inspirational speech to the football team and students, urging them to “get an education because you can’t always play sports. ... Teamwork is important, and although there may be superstars on the team, it’s teamwork that makes the difference in the game and in life.”

He credits his former coach, Jimmie Emanuel, for pushing him and encouraging him to play. He was an unlikely football player and at first did not like the sport. After moving to Smithville from California to be raised by his grandmother, he discovered he was actually good at the sport. He credits her for his success after his discovery of his athleticism.

After graduating in 1964, he attended junior college on scholarship at Henderson County Junior College, which is now Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC). After graduating from TVCC, he continued his education and football career as an Arizona State University Sun Devil where he was also on scholarship. One of his college highlights was playing against Gale Sayers in a college all-star game. He graduated from Arizona State in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.

He was drafted in 1968 in the fifth round as pick number 132 to play in the American Football League (AFL) for the Buffalo Bills from 1968-69 and 1971 as a running back. He also played as a kick returner. His stats for the team included 160 runs for 599 yards rushing, 205 yards for receptions out of 29 runs, and scoring three touchdowns.

He was the Rookie of the Year for the team in 1968, but due to a broken jaw in 1968 and a knee injury in 1969, he did not play again until 1971. He faced an injury while playing with O. J. Simpson on the team and eventually went into teaching for a year. He later found his calling in the ideal job as he was hired by Motorola in Phoenix, Arizona as a professional recruiter of minorities for six years and later at Intel for ten years and National Cash Register (NCR) in Dayton, Ohio.

He is married to his wife, Iris, who accompanied him to Smithville. Together, they have two children and six grandchildren. He is now retired and travels with his wife and family.

While returning to Smithville he planned to visit his cousins, including B. J. Anderson, a retired Air Force mechanic who repaired airplanes for the famous Tuskegee Airmen.