Bengals release Rudi, Willie
'I was blind-sided,' Anderson says
By Mark Curnutte • firstname.lastname@example.org
• August 30, 2008
The Bengals have released two long-time starters on offense, tailback Rudi Johnson and right tackle Willie Anderson.
Anderson, entering his 13th season, told The Enquirer of his release.
“They wanted me to take a pay cut,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it.”
Peter Schaffer, Johnson’s agent, confirmed the termination of Johnson’s contract via text message.
The team has not yet announced their 22 roster moves today.
Anderson lost his starting job this offseason to Stacy Andrews. He was due to make a base salary of $3.15 million this season. The Bengals paid him a $2 million roster bonus Jan. 15.
Johnson, slowed by a hamstring injury in the preseason, had been the subject of trade rumors for the past week. He did not play in any of the four preseason games, including Thursday night at Indianapolis, when he said he was healthy enough to see action. He was in uniform and on the sideline after warming up.
Johnson missed five games in 2007 with a hamstring injury. He was due to make a base salary of $3.2 million in 2008.
The Bengals now appear set to go with Chris Perry as their starting tailback, with Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey backing him up.
Said Anderson, “I pretty much knew they would do it. I just didn’t know it would go down like this. I was blind-sided. They were forcing me to make a decision in 24 hours.”
Anderson said he made a counter-offer to the Bengals but they refused it.
As of 3:15 this afternoon, Anderson had yet to hear from another team.
“If I continue to go on (with another team), I will,” Anderson said. “If not, I would be to go show the people who doubted me that I can still play.”
The Bengals are paying Andrews a $7.455 million one-year salary as the club’s franchise player.
Anderson’s minimum salary would be $830,000. For Johnson, an eighth-year player, the league minimum is $730,000.