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Kenny Anderson's numbers weren't inflated


                Kenny Anderson (No. 14) threw a ball right out of the box.

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Jeff Blake said he deflated the ball and Boomer Esiason said he didn't much care, as long as punter Lee Johnson didn't turn it into "a balloon ball."

But the greatest Bengals passer of them all, Ken Anderson, said he took whatever ball the official put in the game because that's the way it was.

"I always have to say, 'This is my career as I remember it,'" Anderson said with a laugh Saturday from Cincinnati. "What I remember is the officials would get a box of new balls in their locker room, they'd rub them up, and we wouldn't be able to practice with them or even use them in warmups. Maybe you'd be able to make a couple of (warmup) throws before the game, but I don't even remember doing that."

It seemed to work out OK for him. Anderson won four NFL passing titles and went to four Pro Bowls. One of the most accurate passers who ever lived, Anderson didn't like the ball deflated. Not that he would or could have done anything about it.

"I liked to be able to grip it solid. I've got big hands, but that's just the way I liked it," he said. "The only thing you'd be worried about is if they were slick. You didn't want a slick ball. And the laces could be a little more prominent on some."

Like everyone else, Anderson is waiting to see what the NFL concludes. Did the Patriots let the air out after halftime of the AFC championship game? He certainly doesn't think it's the reason Tom Brady has had a Hall of Fame career.

"I don't think it had any impact on that game," Anderson said. "In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it's that big of a deal. But if something happened that shouldn't have happened, they have to deal with it."

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