Henry Anderson is handsome enough. He looks like he could be a fighter pilot in the movie Top Gun. But he doesn't look like the last Indianapolis Colts defender known as "Goose," 1990s fan favorite Tony Siragusa.
The rookie defensive lineman laughs about the idea that his "Goose" nickname has anything to do with a movie. That's just former Stanford teammate David Parry having some good-natured fun, Anderson insists.
Parry, a rookie nose tackle, also laughed about Anderson's amusement about how the nickname has followed his buddy to the NFL.
"Top Gun is his favorite movie," a smiling Parry said Thursday in reference to the 1986 film, in which the fighter pilot 'Goose' is played by Anthony Edwards. "'Goose' I think is his favorite character in that movie, so I think that's why we call him that."
Anderson set the record straight.
"No, that's not where it came from," he said with an amused laugh. "That happened a while ago ... I was playing my buddy in Madden (video game), and I didn't score a point in the fourth quarter, so it was like goose egg.
"This was like freshman year in college, except Parry fricking brought it, Parry told the team about it here, too, so it kind of carried over."
Siragusa was a 340-pound defensive tackle who was larger than life, flapping his arms after making big plays and loving life with an enormous party animal personality off the field when he played for the Colts from 1990 to 1996.
Anderson, 6-6 and 300, plays it more humble. The third-round draft choice had a team-high nine tackles in his NFL debut, a 27-14 loss at Buffalo on Sunday. He says the Bills ran the ball so much, defenders should have made a lot of stops.
Perhaps more impressively, the natural defensive end is playing out of position at defensive tackle in the Colts' 3-4 scheme due to the season-ending injury of Arthur Jones.
"I don't think I've ever seen one where you flip open the stat sheet and you see eight, nine tackles on there," head coach Chuck Pagano said of Anderson's first game. "Very, very productive, but 'Goose' is tough and he's smart and he loves to play the game and he plays with great pad level. He's a relentless player. He wills himself to the football.
"It was a great start for him, a great outing. Now we need the same thing and more."
The Colts (0-1) host the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"Good first step, but still a lot of stuff that I wasn't too happy about," Anderson said. "I do want to try to do a better job of getting after the quarterback, doing better in pass rush and getting edges and stuff like that. I thought I played pretty solid against the run for the most part, but yeah, pass rush is really important in this league, just making the quarterback get rid of the ball early and before he's comfortable. So I definitely want to keep working on that."
Anderson added about the nickname, "It's not my favorite."
"I think he likes it secretly now," the nose tackle said, still smiling.
Parry insists there are other reasons for why the nickname fits.
"He did get 'goose egged' quite a bit in Madden quite a bit when we were in college. I think he also liked to bird watch back in Atlanta in high school. He was a big bird watcher."
"I'm sure he thought he was going to get rid of it back at Stanford, but no, 'Goose' isn't going anywhere."
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.