CINCINNATI — Don’t expect a reunion between the Cincinnati Bengals and former All-Pro tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor chuckled at the idea of luring Whitworth, who retired after last season, off the air to fill the Bengals’ void at right tackle. Simply put, Taylor pretty much ruled Whitworth out as a possibility.
“We have good people in the building that we trust,” Taylor said with a smile.
Taylor said starting right tackle La’el Collins He will likely be out for the season after he suffered a left knee injury in the team’s win over the New England Patriots on Saturday. Taylor said the team is still gathering more information, but is “not optimistic” that Collins can return.
In a podcast posted Tuesday, Whitworth said that whenever an offensive lineman is injured, his Twitter notifications go off. That was especially true when Collins suffered the injury from him.
Whitworth retired earlier this year after he helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. The 41-year-old finished a 16-year career that included two All-Pro selections, four Pro Bowl nominations and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2021. After the Bengals drafted Whitworth in 2006, he played as left tackle for Cincinnati. for the next 11 seasons before ending his career with a five-year stint with the Rams. Since he retired, Whitworth has been a part of Amazon Prime Video’s NFL coverage, which debuted this season.
On Podcast “The Season with Peter Schrager”Whitworth said he has never ruled out returning.
“I think for me, who I am, I’ve said this since the day I retired, I’ll never say never,” Whitworth said. “There’s always an opportunity. I love adventures. I love taking risks.”
However, he did note that he spent his career primarily as a left tackle and that transitioning to right tackle is difficult. Whitworth added that any decision to return would not be about tarnishing his legacy, but about not letting future teammates down.
“I wouldn’t want to go in there and blow their chances, not really knowing what I’m capable of,” Whitworth said, referring to Cincinnati’s postseason odds.
third year player hakeem adeniji he is projected to be Collins’ replacement for the remainder of the season. Adeniji, who finished his college career at Kansas playing left tackle, has experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage. As a rookie, he made three starts at left tackle and one start at right tackle. Last season, Adeniji started the last nine games, including Super Bowl LVI, at right guard.
“He was kind of a new guard last year,” Adeniji told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s a more natural tackling game. Having that full camp and beginning of the season, as opposed to last year, I definitely feel a lot better.”
Taylor would not comment on position for the team’s upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football.” He said that if Cincinnati’s scouting department comes up with potential options for new players, he will consider them.
However, the fourth-year coach reiterated his confidence in those already on the roster.
“We’ve got guys that we’ve had here developing, working on our system, that we have a high degree of confidence in that can help us get the things we need to do this year,” Taylor said.
In other injury news, the Bengals could have a tight end hayden hurst for the Bills matchup. Hurst has missed the past three games with a strained right calf. He was demoted to out for the team’s Week 16 win over the Patriots for precautionary reasons, Taylor said.
“I thought if we could give him another nine days, he’d be in great shape this week,” Taylor said. “So, very optimistic about him.”