Willie a Raven
By GEOFF HOBSON
September 4, 2008
Updated: 6:25 p.m.
Funny how things work.
With the Bengals scheduled to fly into Baltimore Friday night, Willie Anderson plans on signing a three-year, $11 million deal Friday morning with the Ravens.
Anderson is to get a $1.67 million bonus with an $830,000 salary this year that can jack to $1 million for 40 percent play time. That would give him $3.5 million for the year compared to the $3.1 million he was scheduled to get from the Bengals. Last week Anderson turned down a reduced deal from the Bengals that would have paid him the full $3.1 million if he hit certain play-time figures.
Anderson, a four-time Pro Bowler, said he was greeted like a long lost brother at the Ravens facility with a "Big Willie," roar, and the deal was sealed by the hard sell of offensive line coach John Matsko, defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and fellow Alabaman Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens general manager.
"Ozzie's reputation speaks for itself," Anderson said.
Anderson's 12-year run in Cincinnati stemmed from differing opinions about his health and his availability to practice. Anderson said the Ravens doctors told him his X-Rays looked like any other NFL player with seven years or more experience and he said he plans to practice in Baltimore.
"I miss the city of Cincinnati, the Brown family, and my teammates," he said as he also texted en masse names of the support people he wanted to thank from equipment manager Jeff Brickner to the security staff.
"I'm sorry to the city that I couldn't do for them what I always dreamed of doing," Anderson said. "Win a championship and restore pride to that city. That hurt me that I didn't accomplish that."
Anderson said he won't know if he's playing Sunday or is a backup to Adam Terry until Friday.