'Unbelievable experience' with Ravens, Houshmandzadeh says

T.J. Houshmandzadeh might not have been pleased with his role in the Baltimore Ravens' offense last season, but he told NFL Sirius Radio that he hopes to re-sign with the team once a collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

"I really, really, really enjoyed my time there," Houshmandzadeh said in an interview Tuesday, according to *The Baltimore Sun*. "You will never hear me say anything bad about the Baltimore Ravens. It was an unbelievable experience for me.

"Obviously, things didn't go the way I would have liked. But from top to bottom, unbelievable, man, the way they treat you, the way they run things -- it is unbelievable. The things you hear about it, about the Baltimore Ravens organization, is true. I couldn't believe the way they treated me and just the way they treat everybody there. It's an unbelievable experience."

Houshmandzadeh, 33, signed a one-year contract with the Ravens in September after he was released by the Seattle Seahawks just before the season began. He caught just 30 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns in a diminished role behind Anquan Boldin (64 receptions for 837 yards and seven TDs) and Derrick Mason (61 for 802 and seven), and he will be an unrestricted free agent once the labor situation is finalized.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, asked last month in a conference call with season-ticket holders if he would retain Houshmandzadeh and Mason, said "the answer is that I don't really know."

"You can't really put a percentage basis on it, because there are so many things that are up in the air at this time," Harbaugh said. "There are obviously a lot of issues that haven't been a part of the equation in the past. It's just a different calendar now with free agency. ... I like all those guys. As a coach, you want all the good players you can get, and you like having veteran players, too, (but) it's not always possible to keep all those guys."

If he returns to Baltimore -- or if he heads elsewhere -- Houshmandzadeh said all he wants is an opportunity to compete for a starting job.

"My ideal situation is just let me compete," the 10-year NFL veteran said. "If I'm not good enough to start, if I'm not good enough to be on the field, I'm fine with that. I'm honestly fine with that. Just say OK, the best guys will play, because it's been like that my whole career.

"The only reason I'm in the NFL or I've played as long as I've played was because one time in Cincinnati, they said, 'OK, enough with who's drafted where, enough with who's making what, the best guy will play.' And as long as there is competition, and it's a fair competition, it doesn't matter to me, because as an athlete, you know if somebody is better than you. As a receiver, I know if a guy is better than me. I might not want to admit it, but you know that. So that's all I'm looking for."

Houshmandzadeh touched on two other notable topics in the interview:

» On Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's relationship with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron following quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn's dismissal in January: "I just think Joe felt, one, that Zorn shouldn't have been blamed for much at all. If anything, I should have taken the blame for a lot of the things that happened, you know. I think he felt he had a great relationship with Coach Zorn, and he hated to see him go. As far as his relationship with Cam, you know, I think they get along. Joe will be going into his fourth year. I'm sure he wants more responsibility. I'm sure they're going to give him more responsibility, you know, let him kind of take control of the offense, let him do certain things that he sees fit."

» On how close the Ravens, who have been to the playoffs three successive years -- and lost by a touchdown to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional playoffs after Houshmandzadeh and Boldin dropped key passes -- are to winning a Super Bowl: "Real close. If we make a play here or a play there, get one bounce here or there last year, one catch here or there -- meaning myself -- things can be different. If I catch the ball, there's no guarantee that we're going to go down and score. It just gives us an opportunity to continue that drive. But (the Ravens are a) great team. It's the environment there why they're always successful."

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