Super Bowl week brought predicable talk about the possibility of this being that Patriots stars Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski play in. Brady is up there in age at 41, but he’s not the only one playing in this game who could be close to retirement due to age.
Andrew Whitworth is not spring chicken at age 37, but we’ve heard nothing about his permanent exit from the playing field. However, former Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said something interesting on his podcast, that seemed to imply that Whitworth could retire following the Super Bowl.
Alexander hosts his own podcast called “Football Beyond.” He seems to be trying to mimic Mike Rowe’s podcast “The Way I Heard It,” but with a football spin. Like Rowe’s podcast, the run time is about 10 minutes. Alexander even opens by stating it is for “the football listener, with a curious mind,” which is pretty clearly a ripoff of Rowe’s tagline “for curious mind with a short attention span.”
Alexander lacks Rowe’s sense of humor and has a mellow tone, that gives the podcast the feel of a bedtime story, but he provides some interesting tidbits and is able to present it at a level that is accessible to even the most casual fan. Because of how his time in Cincinnati ended, Bengals fans tend to forget that he was at one point one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the NFL and his knowledge is impressive.
On a recent episode entitles “Whit... this one’s for you,” Alexander talked about Whitworth’s career dating back to high school. He talks about how he knew Whit would be successful because he had no gaps in his game. He also recalled stories about Whitworth getting kicked out of games; Once for standing up for himself and once for standing up for a teammate.
But the what caught my ear was near the end of the episode when he said, “These are the memories I have of Whit as he prepares to play his final game as a football player...”
The question is, did Alexander mean to imply that Whitworth was retiring or was it just a poor choice of words? Alexander coached Whitworth for several years and since Alexander is out of coaching, it is likely that they talk.
Whitworth has had an impressive career. After being drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, he quickly worked his way into the lineup for the Bengals and eventually became their starting left tackle. The years have been good to Whitworth, who was playing at a high level at the end of his time in Cincinnati and has continued to excel with the Los Angeles Rams.
So does Alexander know something that the rest of us don’t, or was is just a matter of poor phrasing?