Andrew Whitworth celebrates his super bowl win with the daughter of teammate Matthew Stafford. photo from getty images.
By Terrance Turner
March 15, 2022
Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is retiring after 16 seasons in the NFL.
“My chapter may have closed on the field, but my story is unfinished. Can’t wait for the next one,” Whitworth wrote. “Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey!”
It has been a remarkable journey. Whitworth spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. according to Yahoo! Sports, Whitworth became a mainstay on a Bengals team that made the postseason six times but never won a playoff game. He remained a stalwart member of the Bengals from 2006 to 2016.
in 2017, Whitworth joined the Los Angeles Rams, where he continued to display his remarkable longevity. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, starting a whopping 235 regular-season games in his career. in his final season with the Rams, Whitworth turned 40 — becoming the oldest left tackle ever to play in the NFL. He helped the Rams advance to Super Bowl LVI, where he ironically ended up facing his former team. The Rams trailed the Bengals in the game until pulling off a remarkable comeback, powered by wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive end Aaron Donald. The Rams won, 23-20.
the ending was especially sweet given the finality of it all: Whitworth had indicated that this game would likely be his last. “We’ll see,” Whitworth told People magazine. “More than likely this will be it. There’s always a scenario, but to me, I think I’ve accomplished about everything that I’d wanna accomplish in my career and I’ve got a lot of other things I want to do.”
One of those things includes time with family. The four-time Pro Bowler has his little ones — four kids with wife Melissa, to be exact — in mind as he finalizes his decision, too. “I’ve got a family that needs me and needs me to make it about them for a little while,” Whitworth says. “So we’ll see. More likely, this is it, though.”
Indeed, this is it. and a newly unveiled clip from NFL films reveals that. In the clip, Whitworth is seated on the ground with his children — his four little ones — as confetti rains down upon them. “Hey, listen to me,” he tells his kids. “That was Daddy’s last football game. That’s it. No more. I’mma be home with you guys. Okay? I promise. I’m gonna be a better dad. I’m gonna be around more; I’mma coach the crap out of you boys,” he says, addressing his sons. “We’re gonna have some fun,” he tells his children as a group. “I love y’all.”
Whitworth retires on top of the mountain. But he does so on the heels of another high honor. Just days before the Super Bowl, at this year’s NFL Honors, Whitworth won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The award honors a player’s “outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on it.” Whitworth won the award for a variety of initiatives that aimed to help communities in both Louisiana and Los Angeles.
Whitworth was distressed by the homelessness in Los Angeles and the impact of hurricanes in his home state of Louisiana. So he took action. According to NFL.com, Whitworth launched the Big Whit Homes for L.A. Families program at the beginning of the season and pledged to donate $20,000 after each Rams home game. He also made donations to repair damaged homes in his home state of Louisiana and moved Angelenos facing housing insecurity into affordable homes. He raised thousands for the Aboriginal Food Bank and donated more than $800,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Whitworth explained his view on social change during his acceptance speech. “It starts at my dinner table, and it starts with the kids that I raise. I want to teach them what it means to be a servant be a part of something bigger than yourself.” After thanking his wife Melissa, he added: “I’ve always believed in community service starts around the house; it starts with our own kids, because the best lessons we can give them is for them to learn from Mom and Dad. It means to try, to fail, to regroup,” he said. “I just want to thank Molly Higgins from the Los Angeles Rooms organization. Their commitment to the community is nothing more than greatness.”
“The people who come to see us play, who watch our game on TV, who buy our jerseys, who follow us on social media — they’re why our game exists. That’s why we have a field to play on. We are financially supported and provided the opportunity to play a kids’ game because of the support we receive from communities across this country and across the world,” Whitworth said. “But how are we supporting back and what ways are we playing it forward?”
“It’s called an investment,” he said. “You can apply those three things to any charity or cause you have a passion for. You can invest your time, you can invest your finances or you can invest your voice — doesn’t matter which. We just have to keep investing in each other. Let your heart lead you all the way.”
And if there’s one thing Whitworth has in spades, it’s heart — as evidenced by the million and one times he tells his teammates, “I love you.”