FOXBOROUGH — Calvin Anderson buried the lead.
Toward the end of his media meeting Thursday, the Patriots offensive tackle threw out this little nugget, rather nonchalantly:
“I can solve a Rubik’s Cube behind my back.”
OK, forget the football X’s and O’s for an offseason moment; this is a factoid that must be investigated further.
A mathematical economics major at Rice and Texas, Anderson has always loved numbers, and he translated that into a unique way to solve the popular puzzle game.
“My rookie year , I actually signed a brand ambassadorship with Rubik’s — first pro athlete ever,” Anderson said. “It’s because I came up with a different way to solve it — blindfolded. This is going to sound so nerdy, but there’s a subset of people who actually solve the Rubik’s Cube that do it without looking, and there’s a couple different ways to do it. I came up with a new way.”
At 6 feet 5 inches and 305 pounds, there’s little chance he’ll be labeled “nerdy” in any circles, but there’s no doubt Anderson, 27, is one smart cookie. His blindfolded personal best on the Rubik’s is somewhere in the 20s, but he has seen people accomplish the feat in around 4 seconds.
Anderson, who signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Patriots in March, solves them with “memorization, a little bit of probability, and then some math.” He applies matrices and Sudoku principles in his formula as well. For further explanation, Anderson has made several videos on YouTube available.
As for where Anderson will fit in the Patriots puzzle, he’ll likely be battling a mix of veterans and fresh faces for reps and roles throughout the summer.
He originally signed as a rookie free agent with the Patriots, but his first stay in New England ended after just 11 days when he was cut in favor of veteran Jared Veldheer. After a short stint with the Jets, he spent the last four seasons with the Broncos as a part-time starter. Now he’s back where it all started — and he holds no bitterness about how his first go-round in Foxborough ended.
“I’d say it made the chip on my shoulder bigger,” said Anderson. “You always have a chip on your shoulder going undrafted. I think I had to have a chip on my shoulder leaving this place.
“I tried to take what I learned. I came back with much more of a business mentality as far as what I was doing and what I was able to give the team that I was on. You have to learn quick. You’re young and you think the NFL is going to last forever.”
After starting seven of the 14 games he played with the Broncos — all at left tackle — Anderson said he wasn’t surprised the Patriots came calling when free agency opened.
“I had a good little chuckle, obviously, having been here previously,” Anderson said. “It also helped me understand this was the right move for me. I think everything always works out the way it’s supposed to. I think there’s going to be a good story at the end.”
Uche looking ahead
With the Patriots searching for someone to complement Matthew Judon’s pass rushing exploits, Josh Uche heeded the call. With authority.
During New England’s last 10 games of 2022, Uche collected 11 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, and 9 tackles for a loss. It appeared he had unlocked what had been holding him back, and he unleashed his fury on opponents.
Now entering his fourth year — and the final one of his rookie contract — Uche won’t let his recent success cloud what’s ahead.
“Last year is last year,” he said. “Can’t cash in on much from last year. It’s a new season. Just focusing on the next opponent, just improving. It’s a new season. New plays need to be made and new steps need to be taken. Just trying to forget last year and build and become the best football player I can be.”
The Patriots have firmed up their exhibition schedule. They will host the Texans Aug. 10 (7 p.m. start), followed by road games against the Packers Aug. 19 (8 p.m.) and the Titans Aug. 25 (8 p.m.). They likely will hold joint practices in Green Bay and Nashville, according to a league source ... The Patriots waived offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, clearing about $2.7 million in salary-cap space … Defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington will represent the Patriots at the NFL’s Coach Accelerator next week in Minneapolis. The forum is designed to build relationships between diverse coaching talent and owners and league executives. “DC’s, that’s the man,” said Uche. “It’s just the integrity that he has in the meeting rooms and outside of it. I talked about being able to play a little bit more free and having more confidence, [that] definitely flows from him.” ... A league source confirmed an “Inside the League” report that the Patriots have hired Maya Ana Callender as a scouting assistant. She spent the last four years as Princeton’s director of football operations.