The Bengals are often reliable when it comes to retaining their best players; but sometimes players never get a real chance or are simply deemed expendable. Some former fan favorites are on the Patriots and Rams and will be playing in the Super Bowl this year, some being more vital than others. Let’s take a look at all of the former (and future) Bengals playing and coaching in Super Bowl LIII.
1. Andrew Whitworth
The first player any Bengals fan thinks of when talking about the Rams is Whitworth. After locking down the left tackle spot in Cincinnati for years, he never truly received the respect he deserved as one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL. When the Bengals weren’t willing to match the Rams’ multi-year offer in 2017, he essentially had no choice but to accept it. The Rams were coming off a bad season and were replacing their head coach with Sean McVay. McVay placed an emphasis on protection and that was likely part of why the Rams pursued Whitworth as much as they did.
2. Zac Taylor
The Bengals can’t confirm anything yet, but Taylor is in line to be the next head coach of the Bengals. It would be nice to have someone coming in fresh off a win in the Super Bowl over the Patriots. Starting a winning culture is what the Bengals should be focused on after moving on from Marvin Lewis who brought them out of the basement. Taylor needs to start where McVay started and focus on fixing the offensive line. Signing an offensive tackle or a guard in free agency (or both) could be very beneficial to the Bengals offense.
3. Rex Burkhead
A lot of Bengals fans felt that Burkhead would end up with the Patriots in free agency and he would get a much better opportunity there than he did there. Sure enough, that did end up coming true. Despite struggling with injuries like he did in Cincinnati, Burkhead has been a difference maker in New England when healthy. He was always a solid player and person when he was with the Bengals, so there would still be something good come out of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl.
4. Troy Hill
He wasn’t in Cincinnati for very long, but Hill did get a chance to play due to injuries. He was solid, but ended up getting demoted back to the practice squad. While on the practice squad, he ended up getting signed off by the Rams. He was a starter for them in 2017 and played fairly well. Things changed in 2018 with the Rams bringing in Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters , and he subsequently wasn’t given a lot of playing time. However, he could end up contributing in the Super Bowl and potentially make a difference.
5. James Develin
Originally an undrafted free agent signed by the Bengals, Develin has become one of the Patriots’ longest tenured players and one of their most consistent performers. He may not make a huge difference on the stat sheet, but his impact is felt in the Patriots run game. The run game that was one of their biggest reasons for beating the Chiefs — along with having one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but still. Develin already has Super Bowl rings, so it would be nice seeing a team that hasn’t won as much getting the ring.