Posted: 6:30 a.m.
JonesNot only is Willie Anderson's foot out of the boot, but Levi Jones had a kick of optimism as well Monday as the Bengals bookend tackles eye a return to the field that may be sooner rather than later.
They're also staying true to their personalities in the interim. Anderson (foot) is outright saying he'll be back for Sept. 10. Jones (knee) is more cautious, but just as determined.
Jones looks to be closer and it's believed he'll be back later this week, but he would only say he's more optimistic than he was a few days ago. Yet he also admitted, "I'm up and down."
"The key is to get more work in, more volume of work per session. That's the goal," Jones said. "The more I can get in, the more technical and pain free, the better it will be. I am more optimistic. You never know what happens."
Jones isn't impressed that he looks impressive banging and pushing on assistant strength coach Ray Oliver on the side. They call Oliver "Rock," but he goes about 5-9.
"Ray is really a 6-6, 300-pound defensive end," Jones joked. "He really is that type of guy."
Anderson says it doesn't matter what team would be looming in the opener, it just happens to be the sack-happy Ravens. When you've got a streak of 112 straight games, you play a lot of teams not the Ravens. Anderson remembers waking up the Monday after one of the Baltimore games last year with his shoulder hurting so badly he thought he was done for the season. But he was in there the next Sunday against San Diego.
"It doesn't seem right with me missing football games," Anderson said. "I like to put down my head and I show up and am ready to go week in and week out. I pride myself on playing with injuries and playing hurt, and being able to play for my teammates."
Jones has seen this before from his mentor.
"If there's a possibility and there's a will, there is a way," Jones said. "If he can go, he will go. He does sometimes even when he can't. This is a very bad injury. He has trouble walking around. It's hard to say what's going to happen. I don't think Willie knows right now."