Unceremoniously dumped by the Bengals in September, Ravens right tackle Willie Anderson goes back to Cincinnati on Sunday knowing he got the better of the deal.
At 7-4, the Ravens are shooting for the playoffs. At 1-9-1, the Bengals are back on the treadmill to nowhere.
"I look real, real big in purple," Anderson said yesterday when asked the difference between the two teams.
Anderson has played a key role on a young offensive line since signing with the Ravens on Sept. 5. At the final roster cutdown, the Bengals asked Anderson to take a demotion and pay cut. When he didn't, he was released.
"Me being there probably wouldn't have changed a whole lot," he said. "I'm not saying, 'If y'all kept me, things would be different.' I know there are different things I could have brought to the table. But I'm very happy here."
Anderson has started six games for the Ravens and played in nine. At 33, he has lent a veteran's wisdom to a line that lost left tackle Jonathan Ogden to retirement in the offseason. The oldest player among the regulars had been Adam Terry, 26, although the team last week signed Chad Slaughter, 30.
"Willie's a great person to be around," left tackle Jared Gaither said. "He has a lot of knowledge, and when he shares it with the rest of the team and the [offensive] line, that's remarkable. It's something like what J.O. had given to us, and now we have it again in Willie, from a different viewpoint."
Safety Ed Reed was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Week for a two-interception performance Sunday. He lost a yard off his NFL-record 108-yard touchdown return of the second pick, though, when the Elias Sports Bureau viewed the film and declared it a 107-yard return. That still beats his previous league record of 106 yards.
Reed said yesterday that he is still bothered by a nerve impingement in his neck. Asked whether he wondered whether the injury would allow him even to play this season, he said: "I still wonder about that. My neck still has pain in it, and it's still something I'm dealing with."
Step closer to Hall
Art Modell, who owned the Cleveland Browns from 1961 to 1995 and then moved them to Baltimore, is among the 25 semifinalists up for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall's board of selectors reduced the preliminary list from 133.
The semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 in early January by mail ballot. Two others, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey, have been nominated by the Seniors Committee. The class of 2009 will be determined Jan. 31 in Tampa, Fla., before the Super Bowl.
Former Ravens Rod Woodson and Shannon Sharpe are also on the list (as first-year-eligible players). Modell is one of three semifinalists in the "contributor" category, joining former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson.
Tight end Todd Heap (illness) and wide receiver Terrance Copper missed practice yesterday. Among those limited in drills were defensive end Trevor Pryce and Terry with concussions, plus Gaither (shoulder) and Anderson (foot). Pryce took a helmet-to-helmet shot in the third quarter Sunday but said he had passed his baseline test. Terry suffered his concussion when his helmet hit the turf. "I've gotten a lot better since Sunday," Terry said. ... Also limited were wide receiver Derrick Mason (shoulder) and fullbacks Lorenzo Neal (thigh) and Le'Ron McClain (thigh).