The fact that LA Rams 40-year-old offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth has retired is not something that will rip his impact away from the players who remain. In fact, his mentorship will likely carry many throughout their career, in a similar fashion to that of the veterans who had welcomed Whitworth to the NFL and had remained with him.
There are few other units in the NFL that are as interdependent as the offensive line in the NFL. If one player struggles, everyone is judged as struggling. There are truly no individual victories when blocking. It’s all or nothing in the eyes of fans, statisticians, and analysts. And that was just how Andrew Whitworth wanted it.
For the future of the LA Rams offensive, the burden of performing among the best in the NFL will no longer fall upon the shoulders of ‘Big Whit.’ He was the glue for the LA Rams offensive line for the past five seasons. In many ways, he was the nuts-and-bolts guy to the Rams’ offensive blueprint. His 16-year NFL career had taken him to and through experiences that few other players would have an opportunity to experience for themselves.
If not for Andrew Whitworth, would teammates like Brian Allen or Joseph Noteboom have found the path back from a disappointing 2019 season that ended with injuries to both? Would Coleman Shelton or Tremayne Anchrum find the LA Rams roster so filled with opportunity? Would Alaric Jackson or Max Pircher be more encouraged than ever to take up a 2022 NFL season from the point that they left off a year ago?
We may no longer see that smiling Mr. Clean white-bearded fellow wrapping his arm around LA Rams Head Coach Sean McVay after a victory, but the memory of all that he has been for this team will remain.
Many players on this roster knew where they wanted to go, but did not know how to get there. In so many ways, whether it was on the football field or off the football field, Andrew Whitworth showed us all how it’s done.
And our lives are all a little bit richer for his having done so.