T.J. Houshmandzadeh makes the trip back to Cincinnati this weekend to play against his former team. On Wednesday, he still wasn't sure what to make of the return visit.
"I don't know what it means yet," he said. "I'm sure it'll be fun. They're a good team. Obviously, it'll be fun playing against guys I used to practice with. The corners were young when I was there and were getting better every day. And now, in my opinion, those two are two of the top 10 corners in the league, period. I don't know if they both will be able to stay there as good as they play, as much money as they're going to demand there."
On Sunday, the Ravens' newest wide receiver will run his patterns against Bengals corners Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph for real. He made a modest debut for the Ravens on Monday night against the Jets with one catch for 27 yards.
Houshmandzadeh spent eight years with the Bengals and went to the Pro Bowl in 2007. Last season, he signed a free-agent contract with the Seahawks and led the team in catches with 79. But new coach Pete Carroll went with younger receivers and released Houshmandzadeh, who turns 33 on Sept. 26. Houshmandzadeh said there were no discussions about going back to play for the Bengals, although he received a nice test message from Lewis.
"They had TO [Terrell Owens] and Chad [Ochocinco] and I didn't think all three of us would be a good fit," he said.
Houshmandzadeh helped the Bengals go from doormat to AFC North contender during his career there, and still has positive memories.
"The memories were ... for me personally, not playing ititially, being hurt a lot, Marvin coming there and giving me a chance to play. Really, that was basically it," he said. "I think had I been on another team, I probably would have been released and I'd be at home right now doing lord knows what because of my injury situation. Marvin stuck by me when I was hurt. The next year, I got a chance to play and I played fairly well. ...
"Team wise, the reputation of the Bengals, the stigma around them nationally [was] that basically ... we sucked, and we got better and we were a good team, good offensively. We were going to make it fun. We were going to make it TV-friendly. Regardless if we won or lost, it was always TV-friendly because we were putting up points."