Notebook: No hard feelings for Anderson

OWINGS MILLS -- The irony of his arrival at the Baltimore Ravens' training complex quickly struck former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Willie Anderson. After years of competing against a familiar AFC North rival, the four-time Pro Bowl right tackle began practicing with the Ravens on Friday after signing a three-year, $11 million contract that includes a $1.67 million signing bonus.

"It was one of the teams that in Cincinnati we always envied, the way the organization is run, the integrity that they had," Anderson said. "We always looked up to the Ravens as a goal to get to. It's funny being here, but the guys welcomed me in. The rep of this place, it carries big in Cincinnati.

"The respect between us and the rest of the guys is mutual because we battled so much. I'm still just trying to fit in and not come in with any ego. I'm an old-time guy. I found that a lot of these guys are young guys up here, so my thing is do what I can to make this team better."

Anderson, 33, was cut by the Bengals a week ago after he refused to accept a pay cut. He lost his starting job to Stacy Andrews during training camp.

Unaware if he'll play against his former teammates Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, Anderson said he doesn t harbor any hard feelings toward the Bengals.

He did reference some unspecific issues with the Bengals, though, an organization that has been ridiculed around the league in the past for owner Mike Brown's flintiness, for several troubled players' legal issues and for having substandard facilities.

"They didn't cut me because I couldn't play, they cut me because I said I didn't want to play there anymore," Anderson said. "That was me not wanting to deal with the other non-football issues that I had to deal with for so long. After 13 years, you kind of get tired of dealing with non-football issues."

The 6-foot-5, 340-pounder was limited to a career-low seven games and five starts last season due to injuries, but has started 173 of 181 career games. Nine times, he has started every game.

"I feel like any 13-year lineman feels," Anderson said. "Am I 21 again? No, I'm 33."

The Ravens cleared room on the roster for Anderson by cutting tight end Edgar Jones. Anderson expects to challenge former second-round pick Adam Terry for the starting right tackle job, but not immediately.

"I would be crazy to sit here and think that I'm more prepared than those guys right now," Anderson said. I'm just trying to recover from being out of work for a week."

Terry is scheduled to remain in the starting lineup Sunday, and didn't sound concerned about his job security.

As a natural left tackle, Terry could always shift over and compete with Jared Gaither if he's supplanted by Anderson.

"You never know," Terry said. "It's a situation where I have to do the best I can going into this game. There's a myriad of variables that could happen. As far as I know, I haven't heard anything.

"He adds veteran leadership to a young offensive line. He's been around the block. It's not his first rodeo."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to offer any insight into when Anderson would be installed as a starter, only saying there's a chance he may play this week.

"We're not giving out any information," Harbaugh said. "We have no expectations for it. We'll see how it plays out as we go."

Anderson is due an $830,000 base salary this season that includes incentives that can boost the deal to $1 million if he plays 40 percent of the snaps. If he triggers that escalator clause, then his total first-year compensation will be $3.5 million.

He was due $3.1 million from the Bengals prior to being released, a move that saddened his former teammates.

"Guys are stunned and shocked right now, I told them just get over it and move on," Anderson said. "Those guys took it kind of hard. Guys are still texting me, wishing me good and hating that I'm gone. There's no animosity. It was just an issue with people giving bad info."

Anderson was in the same 1996 draft class as recently-retired All-Pro tackle Jonathan Ogden, who was at team headquarters Friday. Now, he's following in Ogden's tracks.

"When J.O. had his success early on, I always envied that," Anderson said. "Our careers definitely kind of paralleled each other. For me to come here, I'm still chasing J.O."

KATULA SIGNED: Long snapper Matt Katula signed a five-year contract that runs through the 2012 season and makes him one of the highest-paid players at his position in the NFL, according to his agent.

"I'm just happy the Ravens made a commitment to me because I want to be a Raven for a long time," Katula said.

Signed as an undrafted free agent rookie out of Wisconsin in 2005, Katula replaced Joe Maese.

"Matt has earned every bit of this new contract, and I'm extremely happy for him and his family," said Scott Smith, Katula's agent.

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens are unlikely to have nose guard Kelly Gregg available this week as he was listed as doubtful on the injury report.

Gregg was limited in practice after missing practice the previous two days with a left knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery last month.

"It's a game-time decision, I guess," said Gregg, who mentioned possibly wearing a brace. "I feel like I can do it."

If Gregg is out, the Ravens' options include shifting Haloti Ngata to nose guard and having Justin Bannan or Marques Douglas start at defensive tackle.

Free safety Ed Reed (nerve impingement of his neck and left shoulder) is questionable and was limited in practice.

Four players are listed as probable: tight end Todd Heap (knee), running back Willis McGahee (knee, limited), offensive tackle Oniel Cousins (back) and guard Marshal Yanda (thumb).

There are some late rumblings that McGahee may play more than originally anticipated.

"Willis looked good in practice," Harbaugh said. "If he can dress, he'll go."

QUICK HITS: Quarterback Troy Smith remains sidelined with a tonsil infection, but may return this season. "We really do expect him to come back this year," Harbaugh said. … Terry had offseason surgery on his left ankle and sprained it during camp, but is healthy again. "It feels great," he said. "Probably the best it's felt in a long time. For me, that's a great sign. I'm just going to go out there and showcase what I can do." … The Ravens don't plan to have designated permanent captains with a distinctive 'C' patch on the jersey and will instead have game captains. … The Bengals returned 250 tickets, which can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 410-547-SEAT.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.


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