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Dalton dons mantle


Update: 8:40 p.m.

First things first.

Ken Anderson has no problems with Andy Dalton wearing his No. 14. Except for the five games it was worn by special-teamer Maurice Purify for five games in 2009, the jersey had been on the shelf since Anderson played his 192nd and last game in 1986. That was 32,838 yards ago, the most in Bengals history.

"It's been a long time since I played and from what I understand that was his college number, so it means something to him; that's fine," Anderson said Saturday afternoon, dismissing the pressure that comes from wearing such a legacy. "That's the least of his problems."

Anderson, the only eligible candidate to win four NFL passing titles not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, says Dalton's biggest problem is the lockout keeping him away from the playbook and the field.

"I just hope for his sake the lockout ends quickly," said Anderson, who also coached the position in the NFL for 17 seasons. "It's not going to be the same thing as the spread option. There are different reads and he's going to have to get used to working under center as well as learning the different terminology. In the NFL, it's not so much learning the protection checks, it's the number of them. Out of pocket throws, nakeds, bootlegs, whatever you have."

Anderson says he's heard of Dalton and knew the Bengals were interested in a quarterback, but that's all he knows. Anderson spent Saturday playing in a golf tournament, where he had just shot a blistering 76. A third-rounder in 1971, Anderson started four games as a rookie and lost them all. In fact, it looks like Dalton would be the first Bengals rookie Opening Day quarterback if he wins the job. The last rookie quarterback to get a win was the last rookie to start a game, Akili Smith in 1999.

"In the end, nine out of 10 people won't even notice," Anderson said of 14. "I just hope he plays well."

The big news maybe wasn't the jersey the Bengals gave Dalton on Saturday morning, but what he did with it at the end of his introductory news conference at Paul Brown Stadium.

Dalton, the TCU quarterback the Bengals took in the second round, gave third-rounder Dontay Moch his cell phone to take a picture with him holding his No. 14 jersey with fiancée Jordan Jones on the podium.

"He always tries to keep me involved in whatever he's doing," Jones said. "The one thing he's done through this whole process is stay humble. He's the same way he was before this all started."

After whirlwind trips to a dozen NFL cities in the past month and several other workouts literally probing him from from head to toe, now the scrutiny remains. Dalton is supposed to be the quarterback of the future and is wearing the one of the greatest numbers of the past.

Dalton wore it at TCU and he displayed the same level head that was the foundation of the Horned Frogs' 13-0 run to the Rose Bowl title.

"I don't know a lot about him, but I know he was here for a long time and was very successful," Dalton said of Anderson. "It's great to get the No. 14. It's funny … ."

The funny thing, he said, is one of the people at his parents' home in Katy, Texas, during the draft said "my best friend's wife's dad went to high school with Ken Anderson." There may be no relation, but Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham sees the similarities and doesn't think his old road roommate would mind.

"If Kenny Anderson met Andy Dalton, he'd have no problems with him wearing his number," Lapham said. "They're kind of cut from the same cloth. Small-town guys. Humble guys. Successful. Don't let it go to their heads."

Lapham can stretch out the parallels a little more. Dalton is a shade under 6-2 at 213 pounds. Anderson was 6-2, 212 pounds. And their hallmarks are their brains and accuracy. Don't get Dalton started on the knocks against his arm.

"I think the arm strength question was with the 12 workouts. They were wanting to see and every single team I worked out for said you can make all the throws," he said. "Not one of them said one thing about arm strength and that kind of stuff."

Only three players have worn 14 and two of them are Bengals all-timers. The first one was future Super Bowl coach Sam Wyche. Wyche did what Anderson didn't, which was win a start as a rookie. So did Greg Cook in 1969 and Boomer Esiason in 1984.

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