Posted: 4:55 p.m.
When Willie Anderson left the Bengals offensive line before last season, guards Bobbie Williams and Andrew Whitworth eased into his role of leaders. So when the 27-year-old Whitworth heard that the greatest right tackle the Bengals have ever had was put on the retired list by the Ravens, he stopped.
"I feel old," Whitworth said.
"But when you're a guy like Willie," he said, catching himself, "and you've done everything there is to do in football, at this point he was probably ready at any time."
Anderson, 33, a four-time Pro Bowler, ended up playing the sixth most games ever in Bengals history with 181, only four shy of Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz. When he opted not to reduce his contract before last season, he moved on to Baltimore and played in 14 more while helping the Ravens to the AFC title game. His 195 games are 30th on the all-time list.
"I've been talking to him and I know he was thinking about it and it kind of surprised me he did something this soon," said Whitworth, who says he is still taking notes on how Anderson led the line. "But he deserves to do what he wants. Class all the way. One of the all-time greats."