Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth retires after 16 NFL seasons, goes out on top

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.

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.

“If I was going to do it, what just an unreal way, no matter what, to walk off,” Whitworth said on Feb. 11. “I don’t know that there’s anything left for me to do after that point. So, we’ll see.”

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.

“He sure has meant a lot to this organization both on and off the field,” Rams coach Sean McVay said during the 2021 season. “I think sometimes you take for granted that he’s 40 years old. If you didn’t know with the bald head and stuff like that, I mean he moves around like he’s young and he’s got great athleticism.

A second-round pick out of LSU in 2006, Whitworth started 168 games for the Bengals over his 11 seasons in Cincinnati. 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 he signed in 2020.

His 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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