By GEOFF HOBSON
Willie Anderson and agent Terry Bolar plan to meet again with the Bengals Friday after today's marathon negotiations were characterized as "positive," by both sides.
The sides emerged from a two-hour night session at Spinney Field hopeful they could reach a long-term extension for Anderson, the Bengals' fifth-year starting right tackle.
"Everything is positive. We're not through yet,'' said Anderson, when asked if he was close to a deal. "It was all right. We didn't start fighting or yelling or anything."
Asked if he got the sense that the Bengals want him in the fold, Anderson said, "I'm sure they want me. Yes, they're serious. But what they want to pay me is a different thing." Bolar, and at times Anderson, met with Bengals lead negotiator Katie Blackburn for five hours earlier in the day during a session that included lunch. After Bolar and Anderson left Spinney for about three hours, they returned at about 6:30 p.m. for another meeting.
"We made an offer," said Bengals President Mike Brown. "It stacks up with the very best players in his area. We'll see."
Neither side would divulge the parameters of their proposals. But the numbers from former Titans right tackle Jon Runyan's recent six-year, $30.5 million deal with Philadelphia figure to be in the mix.
"There was some good progress made," Bolar said. "We're going to work on it."
Anderson, who turns 25 in July, was the club's first-round draft pick in 1996 out of Auburn and is heading into the last year of his rookie deal. In the past year he has emerged as a locker-room leader and a top tackle after a season in which he allowed no sacks and just four quarterback pressures.
"We covered a lot of ground," Blackburn said. "And it was substantive ground. We talked about a lot of the pieces of the puzzle."