Thursday Reads: Big Welcome for Big Willie


The arrival of RT Willie Anderson in Cincinnati is a breath of fresh air — and a reminder why it’s important to have your veteran leaders around, even for “voluntary” workouts. Listen to what some of his teammates say:

"Anderson certainly showed he’s healthy for the locker room. [Johnathan] Joseph said you could hear “the hooting and hollering” when Anderson arrived Tuesday.“He’s like a legend. He’s like a rock star when he comes into this locker room,” said [Andrew] Whitworth, the second-year offensive lineman who kept in touch with Anderson throughout the offseason. “He loves this team He loves this town and he must love this locker room because we love him back. Guys pick up their step when he gets around them.”"

“Hooting and hollering.” “Guys pick up their step when he gets around them.” Someone explain to me again how absent veteran leaders are no big deal. So one more time, shame on Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Deltha O’Neal and Levi Jones. I once asked whether it would have killed them to show up for a few days. I guess so. So Big Props to Big Willie for doing it right.

As for the word that Willie might be demoted to Stacy Andrews’ backup, it says here that if he’s healthy, he starts. Anderson has dismissed questions about his injuries and maintains he still has two or three good years left. But he knows the score:

"“When I saw Joe Montana get cut,” Anderson said, “I knew then that you always have something to prove.”"

Stripe Hype wishes Willie the best of luck.

In less welcome news, that same story also contains quotes from Chad’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, attempting to scramble away from Ocho Guesto Editoro’s comments in ESPN The Magazine that he will report to the team’s mandatory activities.

"On Wednesday night, agent Drew Rosenhaus said Johnson hasn’t made up his mind about coming next week.In fact, according to quotes posted on, Rosenhaus says he hasn’t made up his mind on anything even though it was plastered all over the Web Tuesday that Johnson had dropped trade demands and was coming in.“[T]hat’s news to me,” Rosenhaus said, according to PFT. “You know the reports about Chad making a decision about reporting to camp or not asking for a trade, all of that’s a bit premature and talking to Chad tonight, you know, the feeling is that we’re still in discussion about what is in his best interest and according to Chad, he’s not made a final decision yet.“So I think that the reports that surfaced are a bit premature and may in fact be jumping the gun. At this point in time Chad has not decided what he’s gonna to do in terms of a trade, minicamp, that’s still up in the air and really won’t be decided until next week.”"

To which I can only reply: Oh please, girlfriend. It’s O-vah. Done, finished, kaput. Chad’s not getting out, Chad’s not sitting out, and your act is wearing out. You have no leverage left. You want to salvage something from this mess? Get Chad into camp and tell him to work his butt off while he’s there. A few apologies might help, too. That’s “what is in his best interest.” Then you might be able to get the Bengals to talk about letting you look for a trade in 2009, or even finding a way to slide Ocho some more coin.

In other team news, Hashmarks reports that new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is is holding off installing his 3-4 wrinkles until the defense masters his new 4-3.

The jury in the Jason Shirley case still hasn’t reached a verdict.

Kirkendall doesn’t think that TE Daniel Coats will oust FB Jeremi Johnson from the roster. I wouldn’t be so sure. In fact, if I had to bet, I’d put my money on Coats.

WDR is tired of Mike Brown stocking the team with head cases. Hey, aren’t we all?’s Don Banks takes it up a notch, noting that this offseason has been a banner year for bad behavior all around the league.

Former Bengals LB Steve Foley is up on charges after his pit bulls got loose and attacked a woman.

Bleacher Report adds up Cincy’s 2008 season and sees 5-11.

Oh. Come. On. The hairy purple cow’s lead widens. Go vote. Now.

AFC North Watch: The Baltimore Ravens’ Pro Bowl left tackle, Jonathan Ogden, is expected to announce his retirement next week. The Ravens are also reportedly closing in on a deal to extend LB Ray Lewis, but have made no progress with franchised DE/LB Terrell Suggs.