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Bengals send congratulations to Andrew Whitworth on Super Bowl berth

Andrew Whitworth was the quintessential Bengal for over a decade, and now he is playing on the world’s biggest stage.

Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

If you ask Bengals’ fans what the teams biggest mistake was the past few years, after not letting Marvin Lewis go sooner, it would be not re-signing Andrew Whitworth following the 2016 season.

The Bengals offensive line struggled in 2016, but it was far from Whitworth’s fault. After that season he was set to hit free agency, and with him being 35-years old at the time, Cincinnati opted not to give him a competitive contract with what the market was offering. That led him to join Los Angeles Rams, a team that was undergoing some pretty radical changes.

The team had just moved to southern California and hired a young head coach by the name of Sean McVay. Little did the NFL know what was on the horizon as the Rams took the NFL by storm with their high-powered offense — an offense that owes plenty of its success to Whitworth’s play remaining near the top of the NFL. That success has culminated in a Super Bowl berth for the team this season, something his former teammates have been happy to see.

“They’re happy for me and to have them reach out is awesome,” Whitworth told Geoff Hobson of “I see a lot of those guys are a part of who I am and what I’ve become to this day.”

This is far from surprising given that Whitworth spent 11 seasons with the team, and most of them he spent one of the main leaders in the locker room. His tenure spanned the Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton era, which each saw their fair share of heartbreak in the postseason. In fact, Whitworth had never been apart of a playoff win until the Rams defeated the Cowboys in the Divisional round this season.

Of course former teammates weren’t the only ones to share their pleasure with seeing Whitworth get a chance to shine in front of the world. Bengals’ vice presidents Katie and Troy Blackburn and director of player personnel Duke Tobin also reached out to their former star offensive lineman.

“Very excited about that. It’s just cool to hear from them and for them to be happy for me,” Whitworth said. “Obviously what they’ve meant to us over the course of my career.”

There is no question that the team likely regrets the way it let Whitworth go in favor of anointing Cedric Ogbuehi as the starting left tackle. It is very likely that Ogbuehi won’t be with the team next season after Cincinnati opted to sign Andre Smith off the streets to play rather than risk having to play their former-first round pick.

Of course, Ogbuehi isn’t the only Bengals who Whitworth is very familiar with who won’t be with the Bengals next year. The team let Lewis go this offseason, and Whitworth was able to share his thoughts on that move as well.

“You see it happen every year. Stuff like that happens. People make decisions,” Whitworth said. “It’s shocking to see him go, but, man, what a great time. What a great job he did there in the community and everything else.”

Whitworth was in Cincinnati for most of the highpoints of Lewis’ tenure, and it is a little ironic that he knows the Bengals (likely) new head coach very well as Zac Taylor is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Rams. Once that move becomes official, Whitworth can probably share some thoughts on that as well.

It’s great to see a player who was the embodiment of a great teammate and NFL player finally get his chance at a Super Bowl ring. The only way it could’ve been any better was if he was able to have that opportunity with the Bengals.