Wednesday, April 10

Rams LT Whitworth retires after 16 NFL seasons

Andrew Whitworth is going out on top.

The Los Angeles Rams’ 40-year-old left tackle announced his retirement Tuesday, ending a 16-year NFL career that he capped with a Super Bowl victory against his former team.

He made the announcement in a video posted to Instagram.

Whitworth said the “warrior” in him wants to continue playing, but his “body just doesn’t.”

“The body is tired. It’s been probably one of the toughest months for me. Obviously it was a long season and everything. But as driven as I am, I still get up every morning at 5 or so and get in my sauna and try to get moving. There’s just still been some days where my body doesn’t want to move with me. It’s just time,” he said during a news conference.

He had gone back and forth in public comments about whether the 2021 season would be his last. Whitworth was quoted in December as saying that the only way he’d retire was if the Rams couldn’t afford him “or there’s just some other way where it doesn’t work out for both of us for me to be back.” But two days before Super Bowl LVI, Whitworth sounded as though he was prepared to call it a career if the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals, the team with which he spent his first 11 seasons.

That point was on display after the Rams’ Super Bowl victory as the NFL released a video Tuesday of Whitworth telling his kids, “That was daddy’s last football game.”

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Whitworth’s résumé includes four Pro Bowl selections (2012, 2015-17) and two first-team All-Pro selections (2015 and 2017). According to Elias Sports Bureau research, he became the only player to start at left tackle in an NFL game at 40 years old after turning that age in December.

Over his five seasons with the Rams, Whitworth started 71 games and ranked second in ESPN’s pass block win rate among offensive tackles.

He was named the 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.

A second-round pick out of LSU in 2006, Whitworth started 168 games for the Bengals over his 11 seasons in Cincinnati.

“I gave my heart and soul to that place. I know we made a lot of differences in that community. I know that we created a culture that was about winning. We may not have found a way to win a playoff game or win a championship, but we won a lot of freakin’ games and we won a bunch of division championships, and I’m proud of those moments. I had some unbelievable teammates and coaches in that time,” Whitworth said of his time with the Bengals.

“And then when I look at my time here with the Rams, it’s no different … I feel great about my time here and what I’ve done. But I’m somebody, if you know me well enough, I’m always chasing something. I just felt like right now, I felt like I’m at a time in my life where maybe chasing the best dad I can be, the best husband, best friend are things to me that are important to me.”

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The Rams made him one of their first free-agent additions under McVay when they signed him to a three-year, $33.75 million deal in 2017. Whitworth had one year left on the three-year, $30 million agreement he signed in 2020.

“There is nobody that has had a bigger impact than Andrew Whitworth on establishing the foundation, the culture of ‘We Not Me,’ and being a part of something bigger than yourself. Helping influence and affect people in the right way, through the good — but I think even more importantly, in the bad. That’s when he was at his best,” Rams coach Sean McVay said Tuesday.

McVay added: “Can’t write it any better. Walter Payton Man of the Year, Super Bowl LVI champ. I don’t know how five years from now he’s not putting a gold jacket on in Canton.”

Added Rams owner Stan Kroenke: “Andrew Whitworth epitomizes the best of people. His hard work to perform at the highest levels on the field is only surpassed by his commitment to making his communities better. Andrew is at the heart of our success in Los Angeles these past five years, both for how he wraps his arms around this region and how he lifts up our entire organization.”

Whitworth’s retirement will save the Rams $15.5 million in cap space, according to Roster Management System data. Los Angeles was roughly $19 million over the 2022 salary cap as of Sunday, per RMS.

Whitworth’s backup, Joe Noteboom, agreed to re-sign with the Rams on Monday for a three-year contract worth up to $47.5 million, including $25 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. Center Brian Allen also is returning, with his three-year deal worth $24 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.

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