Big Whit is still a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I had the opportunity to play with a lot of awesome guys, a lot of teammates that I care about,” Whitworth said in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Some are still there, some aren’t. I still care a lot about them. I care a lot about the organization.”
But that didn’t stop him for making history against his former team Sunday in London. With the Rams’ 24-10 victory, Whitworth became just the 12th player in NFL history to record a victory over all 32 teams in the NFL.
Whitworth was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and was a fixture at left tackle for 11 years before Cincinnati unceremoniously let him walk away in 2016. And don’t think his presence hasn’t been missed.
Since Whitworth has been in Los Angeles, he has started 39 of a possible 40 games. He made the Pro Bowl last year for the third consecutive time and the fourth time overall, and was named All-Pro for the second consecutive season and the third time overall.
With Whitworth in the fold, the Bengals went to the playoff seven times. Since he has been gone? Zero. Cincinnati followed Whitworth’s departure with seasons of 7-9 and 6-10, and currently sits at 0-8.
“Whit was really good for us,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said last week. “I loved every year that I got to play with him.
”Is he the reason things haven’t been exactly the same? I don’t know,” Dalton said. “Whit was a big part of this team and a big part of the leadership on this team.”
The main reason that things “haven’t been exactly the same” is that, in the 2 ½ years since Whitworth has been gone, the Bengals have not been able to successfully replace him. They started trying to find their next left tackle with the selections of Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first and second rounds, respectively, of the 2015 NFL Draft. Both were busts, and neither is still with the team.
Cincinnati finally took a step in the right direction when they traded with the Buffalo Bills for Cordy Glenn after the 2017 season. But Glenn’s injury problems followed him. Glenn started 13 games in 2018, and has not been able to get on the field at all in 2019 while battling with symptoms of a concussion.
The Bengals used their first-round pick in 2018 on another offensive lineman when they selected former Ohio State center Billy Price. Price only started 10 games last season after battling a foot injury.
Cincinnati tried again when it drafted highly-regarded left tackle Jonah Williams, of Alabama, with the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, but a shoulder injury sustained in OTAs, which ultimately required surgery, put him out at least until December.
So thanks, Whit, for the memories, and thanks for the concern. But we wish you were still here.