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Congratulations to Andrew Whitworth

Former Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth finally reached a milestone he couldn’t achieve in Cincinnati... he won a playoff game.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those postings that may only interest me — AKA, I’m thinking about something and I answer it via a Chop Block post. There’s very little insight, story structure, or analysis here; just answering random musings from the couch during a stormy Cincinnati afternoon. There might not even be a conclusion; I’ll just stop when I’m finished.

It was one of the first years we began operations at Cincy Jungle. I’m thinking it was 2007 or 2008 (can you believe we launched in 2006?). An email arrived in my inbox from a gentleman asking that comments regarding his wife be removed. Apparently the comments were from a disgruntled coworker with this woman, and the vulgar comments were being posted at various Bengals-centric websites.

I immediately complied, deleting the comments and banning this user.

The emailer was Andrew Whitworth.

It should be noted that I didn’t delete the comments because it was a request from Whitworth; we’ve always had a policy on decency and against mean-spirited comments (at least at the time, leading to deletion and termination). You better believe I had a “OMG THIS IS WHITWORTH TALKING TO ME” moment. We exchanged comments over the years, mostly based on encouragement, or making fun of people over-reacting (See: Reaction to comments when he was seeking an extension after Bengals drafted two offensive tackles).

Whitworth is a genuine fellow — the real deal. A class act. Talented footballer. Great family man. So when the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night, it was a great moment for the Bengals alum who still has many adorning fans in Cincinnati celebrating his personal milestone. After seven straight postseason losses, Whitworth won his first playoff game in his all-star career — he lost six with the Bengals and one with the Rams last year. And that’s awesome.

The Rams powered for 273 yards rushing on Sunday and Andrew Whitworth was a significant reason why.

(h/t Deadspin)

Whitworth, selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, is a fan favorite destined for a team-based Hall of Fame (make it happen, Katie and Troy), or the mythical Ring of Honor in Cincinnati. There’s a place for him as one of the franchise’s best offensive linemen when you factor effectiveness, character, and leadership.

Especially leadership.

When NFL owners initiated a lockout in 2011, coaches and executives were prevented from contacting their players. It was Whitworth and Domata Peko that organized offseason workouts — which was critical to the development of a rookie quarterback that was expected to start if Carson Palmer followed through with his retirement threat. It was Whitworth that helped keep the lockerroom together when it could have easily divided into two camps, one supporting each quarterback (recall the Michael Silver article from several years ago that I can’t find anymore).

Eventually Cincinnati tried to initiate a succession plan, bringing in younger offensive tackles to eventually replace Whitworth, who was vying for an extension. It didn’t work out for Cincinnati, but at least Whitworth found success out west and is now heading to the NFC Championship game.

As Bengals fans, we say congratulations to one of the best players and human beings we’ve seen wear the stripes.