OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- After signing his three-year, $11 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday, offensive tackle Willie Anderson hopes to play in Sunday's season opener against the team that cut him.
The 6-foot-5, 340-pound former Cincinnati Bengals team captain isn't expected to start immediately at right tackle, where Adam Terry is atop the depth chart.
"It would be crazy to think that I'm more prepared than those guys right now," Anderson said. "I'm just trying to recover from being out of work for a week. The good thing about it is we'll play those guys twice per year."
The 33-year-old Anderson was cut by the Bengals after refusing to take a pay cut and chose the Ravens over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams.
He received a $1.67 million signing bonus from Baltimore, which cut tight end Edgar Jones to create a roster spot for Anderson.
"The guys in Cincinnati are in shock right now, but I told them to just go ahead and get over it, move on," Anderson said. "Those guys took it kind of hard. They have been texting me and wishing me good and hating that I'm gone. There's no animosity between me and the organization. It was just an issue of people given bad info."
Anderson has started 173 of 181 career games after being drafted in the first round in 1996 out of Auburn, but lost his starting job during training camp to Stacy Andrews.
Anderson is due an $830,000 base salary this season that includes incentives that can boost the deal to $1 million if he plays 40 percent of the snaps. If he triggers that escalator clause, then his total compensation will be $3.5 million this year.
"The Bengals didn't cut me because I couldn't play, they cut me because I said I didn't want to be there anymore," Anderson said. "That was me not wanting to deal with the non-football issues I had to deal with for so long. There were other issues that after 13 years you kind of get tired of dealing with, those non-football issues."
Notes: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said that running back Willis McGahee (left knee) will be a game-time decision. If he can't go, then rookie Ray Rice will start in his place. McGahee termed his chances of playing at 50 percent. ... Nose guard Kelly Gregg (left knee) said he also will be a game-time decision after participating in practice Friday on a limited basis. "Hopefully, I'll play," Gregg said. ... Free safety Ed Reed (nerve impingement of his neck and shoulder) is another question mark after missing the preseason. ... "It's just listening to the doctor and trying to be smart about it as much as you can," Reed said. "If they tell you, it's going to be a couple of weeks, then you've got to take a couple weeks. That's what they've been telling me. It's very frustrating because you can't really do anything. If you get out there, you are really at risk."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press