Updated: 11:40 a.m.
Ken Anderson, the Bengals all-time leading passer, comes back to Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday for the first time with a Super Bowl ring. And the Steelers quarterbacks coach is bringing the same single-mindedness that gave him four NFL passing titles while playing in Cincinnati.
"It's always nice to come back, but really," he said politely Thursday night during a rare break in game planning, "it's just another step in the season. We've got another one next week."
Sitting in the CBS booth analyzing Sunday's 4:15 p.m. game for a national television audience is one of Anderson's peers, Phil Simms, the old Giants quarterback that still holds the record for most yards thrown against the Bengals, 513, in a 35-30 Cincinnati victory at Riverfront in 1985.
The Bengals' Boomer Esiason threw for just 198 yards "but we lost," Simms recalled ruefully Friday before he sat down at PBS to study film.
Anderson didn't play that day, but Simms, a native of Lebanon, Ky., had already seen him.
"When I think of Kenny Anderson, I always think the same thing," Simms said. "Man, he threw a lot of spirals. Even for a pro quarterback."
Another thing Anderson shares with Simms. He has no interest in his status as a potential Hall of Famer. The numbers would suggest Simms is more borderline than Anderson, but Simms detests numbers.
"Don't get me started on passer rating," he said. "I've seen plenty of guys with great ratings, but have they made a play?"
Simms says he doesn't think of the Hall of Fame ("Not for a second") and Anderson says the announcement last month that fellow Steelers coach Dick LeBeau has become a virtual lock as one of two senior finalists for Canton hasn't stirred the thought.
"For Dick, it's well deserved and I'm happy for him," Anderson said. "But I really don't know anything about (the process.)"
Anderson's last year of eligibility is 2012 and then his case would go before the senior committee. Simms has until 2019, but both guys are immersed in Sunday's assignment.
A quick comparison:
Anderson played 16 seasons and threw for 197 touchdowns and 160 interceptions, completing 59.3 of his passes for an 81.9 rating with a win-loss record of 91-81 and a postseason record of 2-4.
Simms played 14 seasons and threw 199 TDs and 157 interceptions, completing 55.4 percent of his passes with a 78.5 rating with a win-loss record of 95-64 and 6-4 in the playoffs. He's got a Super Bowl ring as a starter. Anderson got his first one as a coach.
"I don't know about my case or much about his," Simms said. "In my mind it's the great of the greats. Peyton Manning. Tom Brady. But it's not the way it is. There's a wide variety of players there and a lot of them don't deserve to be there."
LeBeau's Steelers on defense were so adamant that their coach should be in the Hall, they took to wearing LeBeau's powder blue No. 44 with the Lions.
That got Anderson laughing when asked if some Steelers might soon be wearing an Anderson No. 14.
"I don't think anybody around here is going to be wearing a Bengals jersey," Anderson said.
Anderson's son, Matt, works in Lexington, Ky., but has kept going to Bengals games. It is tough for him, but he is for his dad all the way and there have been times he'll wear a vintage Anderson jersey with a Steelers hat.
"I'm sure whatever he wears," Ken Anderson said, "it will be appropriate. I know everybody up there is Bengals fans," he said. "But you know, family is family."
For the second year in a row Anderson attended Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis' charity golf tournament this spring, and he visited Matt and his daughter Molly, who lives in Cincinnati. His other daughter, Megan, lives in Connecticut and works for E-60 as an ESPN producer. She should be able to get an interview for the story they're doing on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
But maybe not. Anderson doesn't want to get into discussing his role with Roethlisberger. There is a game to be played and that is between coach and player.
But, sure, a game in Cincinnati is a little more special.
"I got there when I was 22 and I left 30 years later," he said. "I know that 30 is bigger than 22."
BIG WEEK: Antwan Odom's big week continues. A franchise-record five sacks, NFL Defensive Player of the Week, his 28th birthday. Now a baby. The Odoms had their fifth child in time for Dad to walk through with the Bengals on Saturday morning. The former Tennessee Titan named his son "Memphis."