Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson spent 12 hours in jail in January after his second arrest in eight months. He told ESPN's Rich Cimini that night "felt like forever."
And in the words of his uncle, Daniel Harris, "I think that last arrest pretty much woke him up."
Reflecting on his troubled past, Anderson told Cimini he doesn't want to let his arrests define him on or off the football field.
"I worked hard my whole life to be something and see new things and better places, and be great -- build a legacy and do amazing things," he said. "I don't want to be stuck or slowed down and fall into bad situations. I don't want to be known or remembered as somebody that went to jail and his career went downhill. I refuse to let that happen to me ever again. Period."
The 25-year-old Anderson, who broke out last season, faced six charges, including two felonies, after he was pulled over for driving 105 mph in a 45 mph zone and had an altercation with police officers in which he allegedly made vulgar remarks about one officer's wife.
It's an incident for which the NFL won't suspend him under the league's personal conduct policy, SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano reported earlier this week, however it put Anderson's career in perspective.
"It got his attention as far as what could've happened as far as playing in the NFL," Harris said. "I think he realized his career could be over in an instant."
Anderson received six months of non-reporting probation stemming from his January arrest and had both felony charges dropped. However, Anderson, according to Cimini, has been charged with traffic-related incidents 10 different times since 2014, including five speeding tickets. The Jets receiver also had a resisting arrest charge for an incident at a Miami Beach music festival dropped.
In the middle of his third season with the Jets since going undrafted out of Temple, Anderson said his latest arrest, for which he spent 12 hours in Broward County jail, changed how he views life.
"It was hard being in the county jail where I'm from and knowing that people I've grown up with have lost their life to that, and knowing I'm better than that, even though I knew the allegations weren't true," Anderson said. "Just the representation of my family and myself and my team, and what I'm hoping to achieve, it was a humbling experience."
A year after he caught 63 passes for 941 yards and seven touchdowns, Anderson has just eight catches for 108 yards and one touchdown through four games this season as New York has gotten off to a 1-3 start. But for him, he holds himself accountable for the arrest and is appreciative of simply being on the field.
"I really think about things before I do them," he said. "No discredit from where I come from, but I made it out of certain things. Not everything deserves your attention. Sometimes it's the simple thing of involving yourself in other people's problems. It kind of pulls you back. As a man, I don't deserve to keep getting tugged and pulled. But I don't want to blame anything on anybody."