Skip to main content

Willie: Last home game?

Updated: 12-21-07, 4 p.m.

Willie Anderson says he'll play in his 180th game Sunday against the Browns and he says he's heard enough lately and seen enough in his 12 seasons to think it could be his last home game as a Bengal.

And he's calling it "Senior Day," along with some of his other teammates that wonder if they'll be back next season.

"This could be all of our last home games," said head coach Marvin Lewis, who offered earlier in the week that the Bengals alumni list could grow in the offseason. "I'm not going to worry about that. None of us are promised tomorrow."

With three years left on his contract, it's assumed Lewis is going to be back. But Anderson, who can become the seventh player to appear in at least 180 games as a Bengal, is viewing his situation like the Fatburger franchises he owns.

"I look at it as a business," said Anderson before Friday's practice. "I tell my family, 'Don't look over and say that will never happen.' It happens."

Lewis would only say Anderson has a chance to play and listed him as questionable.

Anderson, who has four years left on his contract after next Sunday's finale in Miami, thinks it could happen because of the concern surrounding his knee. Concern he is trying to alleviate, in part, by playing. He has been saying he could have played against Pittsburgh Dec. 2 and he believes he can play at least three more years.

The season started uncertainly for the Bengals Pro Bowl tackles but they hope to have a more definitive finish in the last two games.

Anderson practiced for the third straight day Friday in an effort to show the club he's healthy enough to play next season with his healed knee in case it started to believe rumors that he's finished. And he said before practice he'll play.

Left tackle Levi Jones, who openly wondered if the Bengals were getting ready to trade him when he had trouble getting back into the starting lineup at the beginning of the year with his rehabbing knee, is hoping to finish healthy after a gritty season he virtually played on one leg.



Anderson is hoping to show the club in the last two games that the bone bruise and sprained medial collateral ligament that cost him the past eight games and his fifth straight Pro Bowl is healed and has nothing to do with his age, which is 32 in July.

"I definitely want to finish with two wins," Anderson said. "And at the same time I want to show them, or whoever wants to know that I can play football. I don't want that rumor put on me by whomever to whomever that I couldn't finish out the season. It's not an age thing. It was a contact injury."

Anderson is waiting to get word from the club on his playing status, but he indicated that he got a good deal of work in Thursday's practice and didn't just have a cursory workout.

After being named a Pro Bowl third alternate this week despite the limitations with his knee, Jones was far from pleased.

"It's what is to be expected," said a disappointed Jones. "With the kind of start I had and all the drama around the injury, I couldn't expect too much more. It's not good enough for me."

Jones has started the last 11 games after he had words with Lewis about his health. Following a mid-game benching against Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen, Jones has been solid and is a big reason the Bengals are tied for second with Cleveland for allowing the fewest sacks in the league with 17.

Jones, coming off two procedures last season, is hopeful an offseason stint with his trainers back home in Arizona will be just what the knee needs.

"Then we can get it corrected and I plan to come back faster and stronger wherever I come back to," he said.

All indications are he'll be back in Cincinnati since Anderson's status seems up in the air at the moment and Anderson's backup, Stacy Andrews is unsigned.

INJURY UPDATE: Running back Rudi Johnson (hamstring) didn't work for the third straight day Friday and has been ruled out, making it the fourth game he's missed with hamstring problems and first since Oct. 28. Lewis wouldn't announce Kenny Watson as the starter.

Both of the Bengals starting safeties appeared on the injury report Thursday and didn't practice Friday with Madieu Williams (quad) doubtful and Dexter Jackson (calf) questionable. Cornerback Deltha O'Neal was sick and sat out Thursday before going full Friday and is probable. Wide receiver Chris Henry (ankle), who missed Wednesday's practice, went full go Thursday and Friday and is probable.

For the Browns, starting cornerback Leigh Bodden (back) was a new addition to the injury list and was listed as did not go. The three defensive linemen, Robaire Smith (back), Shaun Smith (back) and Orpheus Roye (knee), were all limited, as was linebacker Antwan Peek (ankle). On Friday, Peek was limited and listed as questionable. Also Friday, Shaun Smith went full go and was listed as probable. Roye and Robaire Smith were, too, after they went limited. Left guard Eric Steinbach was excused for personal reasons and is probable.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.