Andrew Whitworth celebrated a decorated NFL career with a Super Bowl title in his final game, ending an excellent tenure with the Los Angeles Rams -- and a standout career with the Cincinnati Bengals -- by hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Whitworth spent 16 seasons in the NFL, playing 14 seasons as one of the top left tackles in the game with the Rams and Bengals.
Whitworth earned four Pro Bowl appearances and two First Team All-Pro honors in his career, playing the most regular season snaps in NFL history with 14,766. In addition to winning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year honors, Whitworth became the first left tackle age 40 or older to start an NFL game and his 15,736 combined snaps in the regular season and postseason trail only Tom Brady for the most in NFL history.
The 2022 season will have a different look for Whitworth, who won't suit up in an NFL uniform for the first time since 2005. Now retired, Whitworth is still around the game of football as a pregame, halftime and postgame coverage analyst for Amazon Prime Video's "Thursday Night Football" coverage.
Whitworth is also partnering up with Pepsi to kick off the football season with the "Pepsi 18 Week Pack," a tiny home that one lucky fan will have the chance to live in for all 18 weeks of the 2022 NFL season. The "Pepsi 18 Week Pack" features a gametime fridge TV (a 55' 4K LED screen and 16-can built-in refrigerator), spirited seating (stadium-style seats above green turf), and other amenities to make the gameday experience unique.
"We created an atmosphere that's the ultimate TV watching experience," Whitworth said. "It's so cool to sit in a stadium seat and to have a refrigerator in the TV. That experience to me is so cool. It's the experience where you can just stretch out and watch the game on TV with your own stadium speakers. Once you see it, you'll think to yourself -- man I'd love to have one."
Whitworth opened up on his retirement in a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports, and the process that led up to the decision. he also discussed the Rams offseason and how they will fare in their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
How are you enjoying retirement so far?
Whitworth: "You know, it's been great. Believe it or not, I have not had any moments where I'm like 'Man I've gotta be out there.' Playing as long as I've did and as many snaps as I did, I just dreamed about the days I didn't have to hit anybody again for so long. I'm actually enjoying just every second of being around the family, being an observer and a supporter, and a friend and fan of the game."
Did you feel anything come July when you realized you weren't going to training camp?
Whitworth: "What's been crazy is the same thing that allowed me to be one of the longest tenured linemen ever is the same thing that's kind of kept it where I haven't missed it that much. I really became someone -- when I was 35 and the Rams were signing me and we were thinking about this deal -- I said 'The one thing you have to understand about me is my daily grind doesn't change regardless if I'm playing football or not.'
"This is kind of what I love to do in life. I love to work out. I'm always training whether it's football related or not. Really over the last five years being in L.A. my days if you went from five years ago to now aren't any different. At 5:30 in the morning, I'm in my infrared sauna for an hour, I still train for an hour and a half in the morning before school, and drop my kids off.
"Now instead of going to work and studying my position and what I'm going to do this season while mentoring the locker room, I'm sitting here watching the league in totality. I'm watching all the games, studying players, and those kinds of things. I'm really not doing things that are that much different compared to what I was doing when I was playing, but I'm not actually in the locker room. That's really the only part I really miss much.
"Maybe when kickoff comes and the real regular season starts and you feel what a real NFL game is like, maybe there will be something there. So far, I've been really happy and content where I'm at."
Did winning the Super Bowl propel retirement?
Whitworth: "So when we sat down for the playoffs, my wife and I had a really direct conversation where I told her 'Listen, this is it.' That's why for me when the team went to Tampa when I couldn't play because of a knee injury, I was pretty nervous. I couldn't even watch it with the family. I went into another room and sat by myself for a while. I had a procedure done on my knee just to see if I could be healthy enough for the NFC Championship.
"I was real hopeful they found a way to win that game. So that was definitely something I knew. I made a commitment that this was it. It really helped me going to the Super Bowl and playing my former franchise (Cincinnati Bengals) to have a really cool mindset. Instead of what I would have been like and imagined if I would have kept playing like if we lose this game and we don't find a way to win -- wow what a slap in the face to get beat by your franchise you used to play for -- not only that but to lose two Super Bowls.
"I really spent that week just so thankful to be there and thankful that the two organizations I'm a part of in my career together are playing each other in a Super Bowl. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and something I couldn't have been more grateful to have happen in my career."
Did the Rams ever ask you after the Super Bowl, 'Hey, let's go one more year'?
Whitworth: "I think they kind of knew where I was at. I'll be honest, there's also to an extent there's also Joseph Noteboom. And I'll say this again -- he would have been starting at left tackle the last three years had I not been there. Joe was talented enough to be the starting left tackle for (several) years now.
"It was one of those things we both knew. It would be really hard for them to let a talented left tackle -- who's not proven yet -- to let him walk out our door. And then for you, how much more can you actually commit to us? So that would have been a tough conversation because then it gets to...I really made a commitment when I left Cincinnati and came to the Rams. I signed this awesome deal, (the) first time ever for someone my age to sign a deal like I did in free agency to come here, but I made a commitment.
"Once the money does down and it's not as financially as lucrative to keep playing, I'm committed to my family and being home more. I'm not going to keep playing. So last year, I played for the least amount of money I played for in those five years and I knew that number probably wasn't going up if I stayed.
"Sean (McVay) and I are close enough to understand that. It was really one of those things where what you're going to have to pay me to keep me to stay is probably what you would have to pay Joe to stay -- but he'll probably be staying four more years as opposed to me probably staying for one.
"I think it just made sense for both sides. From their perspective, we know that he wants to retire and this is probably in the best interest of the franchise as well. For us to keep a player who -- without question -- is going to be a really good left tackle."
How do you think the Rams are going to fare this year?
Whitworth: "I think it always comes down to health, but I'll say it this way. They're more talented today than we were last year at this time. They have better options as far as opportunities to get the ball to Allen Robinson. A lot of people forget we didn't have Von Miller until late in the year so the reality is last year to start the season -- they didn't have an Allen Robinson, who's a proven guy, who can win one-on-ones, and make tough catches. If teams want to take Cooper Kupp away this year, well we got this other guy that makes tough catches and basically does the same things. It's tough to cover just one guy.
"They are able to use a lot of the weapons they've always had. You got the tight end (Tyler Higbee) back. You going to have a running back-by-committee probably and you still have Matthew Stafford -- who's an absolute machine. I think, offensively, they're just as good if not better.
"And then defensively you have an All-Pro in the secondary (Jalen Ramsey), on the defensive line (Aaron Donald), and now at linebacker. Bobby Wagner is also training another player right beside him who they think is gonna be good (Ernest Jones). They're a tick better than what they were last year defensively. They added Troy Hill now, who people forget how the way they play coverage and the way they play defense -- having corners that can play inside and play outside -- allowing Jalen (Ramsey) to move around and play him where he's need to play is what makes them so special. They lost Troy Hill last year and now they have him back.
"I think defensively, they can be as good, if not better. Offensively, you look just as good and better as well. I don't see why they wouldn't be in contention."
To win the "Pepsi 18 Week Pack," fans must purchase two 12-packs of Pepsi (any flavor) through a sweepstakes on Instacart– and save their receipt before receiving an automated SMS message to enter the sweeps. An Instacart account is required to enter the sweepstakes.