There has been an idea among some fans of the Cincinnati Bengals that Andrew Whitworth could come out of retirement and compete for another ring with the team that drafted him.
Now, the Amazon Prime analyst is adding some more fuel to the fire of it being an actual possibility.
“I’ve said this since the day I retired, I’ll never say never,” Whitworth said on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast. “There’s always a chance. I love adventures. I love taking on chances. So, to me there’s always one. Obviously, there are a lot of things that would go into it. I mean, I’m technically under contract still with the Rams, and I’d have to, I’d have to kick off the old, uh, dust a little bit and see if I could see if these tires could still move a little bit.
“But you know what, I’d, I’d never say no to the option, but, you know, I don’t know. It’d have to be a sit-down conversation with with (my wife) Melissa and the kids and say, ‘Hey, can we do this again or not?’”
It all started when the Bengals starting right tackle La’el Collins suffered a torn ACL on Christmas Eve against the New England Patriots, and prior to that game Whitworth made some public comments saying that his Amazon Prime duties are up December 29th, and the possibility of joining a contender for a run was tempting.
Even Whitworth acknowledges the logistical problems from a business standpoint with his contract. He even goes on to talk about how switching from left tackle to right tackle could be his biggest problem with feeling like he would be able to contribute as well as the fear he would hurt the team’s chances.
“I think sometimes people don’t understand when you flip sides, what a challenge that is when you’ve only done it one way,” Whitworth stated. “And I’ve only played left tackle my entire career. So, when you flip your feet and play the other way, it’s very challenging. It’s almost like you’ve never done it before in some senses. There are only a few guys that are good at it.
“So for me, it really wouldn’t be about tarnishing the legacy. It’d be about I don’t want to let those guys down. I want Joe Burrow and those guys that have all the success possible, and it’d be more about not knowing really how well you’d be playing. I feel good, I feel great in that sense, and I would be confident, but I wouldn’t want to go in there and mess up their chances not knowing really what I’m capable of.”
It is never as easy as it is in Madden to just move an offensive lineman from the left to right side of the offensive line, especially if they don’t have prior experience. It sounds like Whitworth would also need to get back into football shape on top of learning to play tackle on the right side of the offensive line, which may not be possible to do at a high enough level in essentially a week or two. At least to his own standards.
This certainly is an interesting development in the story, but as far as situations go for Whitworth having an option of returning to a contender for the playoffs, the Bengals possess his best option. The fact he didn’t mention any lingering bitterness about how the front office ended his tenure with the team is a fairly good sign. He ultimately got the last laugh defeating them in the Super Bowl last season, though.
Realistically, NFL teams have players on their rosters they expect to fill these positions when injuries happen. It isn’t like the Bengals have lost three offensive tackles and are desperate for a starting tackle.
Hakeem Adeniji has been with this coaching staff for quite some time now and even has experience in last year’s playoffs at guard. Tackle seems like a much more natural position for him, so odds are the team may rather roll with what they have.
While it would be quite the story if it played out with Whitworth returning to help earn the first Super Bowl in the franchise’s history, it still seems like it is just too late in the season for something like this to develop.