The Cincinnati Bengals and their fans have enjoyed an improbable ride all the way to Super Bowl 56. We have heard from many many former Bengals over social media how excited they are for this team.
However, a fan-favorite will be lining up across from the Bengals during the game.
Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth shared what it will be like lining up against Cincinnati as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
“Both places have my heart and people that I believe in,” Whitworth said via the Rams’ official site. “Really special and a cool moment for me to get to play in this game and play against a place that means so much to me.”
Whitworth has made a second home in Los Angeles over the past five seasons. He has continued to play at a very high level and was voted a First-Team All-Pro in 2017. He’s also been a Pro Football Focus darling over his career with the Rams.
Many fans were upset that the Bengals allowed Whitworth to walk following the 2016 season. That feeling turned towards anger quickly when first-round selection Cedric Ogbuehi did not pain out at all.
Whitworth was going to be 37 years old in 2017, though, so the team felt they would let him go a few years early instead of hold onto him a few years past his prime.
It’s fair to say that no one would have expected Whitworth to continue playing at a very high level to the ripe age of 40, which is a truly magnificent feat on his own.
Despite being allowed to walk away from the franchise without much resistance, Whitworth has continued to monitor his old team. He’s been happy with what he’s seen and expects in the future.
“Just watching them from afar this season has been exciting,” Whitworth said. “I am excited for Zac and the city of Cincinnati. They are seeing what a great guy, leader, and coach he is. And then obviously there is the young talent they have added and how special of a player Joe Burrow is.”
The Bengals had to wait until the 2019 NFL Draft when they landed Jonah Williams to truly replace the gigantic hole Whitworth left. The offensive line still has never returned to the glory it had back in 2015 either. It’s easy to say with hindsight that Cincinnati should have held onto the veteran longer, but at the end of the day, if that changed, we probably aren’t watching Joe Burrow in stripes.
Fans are obviously rooting for the Bengals in the Super Bowl, and there will be nothing but disappointment if they fall short to the Rams.
However, years down the line, we may be able to appreciate that at least one of the best Bengals of all-time finally got his moment.
Hopefully, regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl, another moment like this comes when he is added to Cincinnati’s Ring of Honor.