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Willie a Raven

Updated: 9:30 p.m.

Funny how things work.

With the Bengals scheduled to fly into Baltimore Friday night, Willie Anderson plans on signing a three-year, $11 million deal Friday morning with the Ravens.

Anderson is to get a $1.67 million bonus with an $830,000 salary plus $1 million for 40 percent play time. That would give him $3.5 million for the year compared to the $3.1 million he was scheduled to get from the Bengals. Last week Anderson turned down a reduced deal from the Bengals that would have paid him the full $3.1 million if he hit certain play-time figures.



Anderson, a four-time Pro Bowler, said he was greeted like a long lost brother at the Ravens facility with a "Big Willie" roar, and the deal was sealed by the hard sell of offensive line coach John Matsko, defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and fellow Alabaman Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens general manager.

"Ozzie's reputation speaks for itself," Anderson said.

Anderson's 12-year run in Cincinnati stemmed from differing opinions about his health and his availability to practice. Anderson said the Ravens doctors told him his X-rays looked like any other NFL player with seven years or more experience and he said he plans to practice in Baltimore.

"I miss the city of Cincinnati, the Brown family, and my teammates," he said as he also texted en masse names of the support people he wanted to thank from equipment manager Jeff Brickner to the security staff.

"I'm sorry to the city that I couldn't do for them what I always dreamed of doing," Anderson said. "Win a championship and restore pride to that city. That hurt me that I didn't accomplish that."

Anderson said he won't know if he's playing Sunday or is a backup to Adam Terry until Friday.

Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said it will be odd to see Anderson twice-a-year in purple, but doesn't think it will be an emotional blow to see one of the team's key leaders for so long on the other sideline. He was surprised that after just one playoff appearance in 12 seasons Anderson didn't opt for one of the AFC favorites that expressed interest, the Chargers.

"You don't think about that when you're playing. And if you need that to give you incentive, what kind of competitor are you?" Houshmandzadeh asked. "Willie is a smart dude. I'm sure he could play Sunday. He'll be starting in a couple of weeks. I'm sure he's letting their defense know about our offense."

Also letting the Ravens pick his brain, no doubt, is former Bengals tight end Nate Lawrie, cut on Saturday and then signed to the Ravens practice squad.

"I actually haven't talked to them about it yet," Anderson said. "Their defense has done pretty well without me telling them anything."

Houshmandzadeh said he could understand why Anderson stayed in the AFC North.

"If Willie thinks like me, he's probably thinking, 'If you cut me, I'll come back and beat your butt twice a year,' " Houshmandzadeh said.

But Anderson said it came down to fit.

"Some teams are better fits than others," Anderson said. "This is a real impressive place. The people sold me on what is going on here."

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