If there's a single player that I miss the most that used to play for the Cincinnati Bengals, it's Willie Anderson. He was perhaps the most underrated offensive tackle in the NFL until late in his Bengals career. A Three-time First Team All-Pro, a Four-time Pro Bowler and a leader in the clubhouse, Anderson was the only guy that would say shut up, and Chad Ochocinco Johnson shut up. When he joined the Ravens, and Baltimore made it to the AFC Championship game, I found myself pulling for the Ravens simply so Anderson can get his day in the sun.
Since he retired, Anderson decided to get into this Twittering thingy. On Monday, Willie tweeted on the Andre Smith negotiations:
That Andre Smith situation may get ugly. I negotiated 3 contracts with Bengals. Their tough!
(Note: I didn't correct Willie's word usage of "their" because not even Chuck Norris corrects Willie)
This got me thinking (I know. Mind blowing. It happens). The Bengals need to create a Ring of Honor, or a Ring of Fame, honoring their best players throughout the history of the franchise. The Bengals website has the Virtual Hall of Fame, but that's not the same. That's a fan vote. And you won't see the winner's jersey numbers, or names spread across the Paul Brown Stadium in any official Fame or Honor tribute based on that vote. The Bengals should have something like the Reds Hall of Fame. Or the Bronco's version of the Ring of Fame.
We have the players to put in there. Like Tim Krumrie, Boomer Esiason, Ken Riley, Kenny Anderson, Anthony Munoz. What about Corey Dillon, Rudi Johnson (he set several franchise records), James Brooks, Pete Johnson, Isaac Curtis, Carl Pickens, Jim Breech, Louis Breeden and David Fulcher. Guys like Carson Palmer, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Ochocinco Johnson would be future inductions. We could add more; point is that we have people a pool of players to put in there.
And if the Bengals had a Ring of Fame, or ever decide to implement one, Willie Anderson should be in it.
I believe that you could point many failures on Bengals president Mike Brown. I believe that not honoring older players that made their mark with this franchise (as well as not reaching out to fans in some off-season festival, ala Reds Fest) is another.