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Amazon’s Andrew Whitworth teases NFL return as Bengals’ La’el Collins alternative: ‘Never say never’

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The Bengals suddenly have a hole on their rebuilt offensive line, as right tackle La’el Collins suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Cincinnati’s Week 16 win over the Patriots.

Cincinnati’s improved offensive line play is partially chargeable for the team’s midseason surge to the highest of the AFC standings, and Collins had been playing a few of his best football during that stretch.

Now, the Bengals may have to exchange him. And while they’ve some internal options, no less than one notable external option said he would consider returning to the team.

That might be Andrew Whitworth. The 41-year-old retired from the NFL following the 2022 playoffs after winning Super Bowl 56 with the Rams. He hasn’t been tempted to come back out of retirement yet, but he said on “The Season with Peter Schrager” podcast that he could consider doing so to affix the Bengals.

“I’ve said this for the reason that day I retired, I’ll never say never,” Whitworth explained. “There’s at all times a likelihood.”

MORE: Latest update on La’el Collins’ season-ending knee injury

Whitworth played with the Bengals from 2006 to 2016. He began 164 of 168 games at left tackle and the 2006 second-round pick from LSU turned himself into certainly one of the NFL’s best tackles before spending the ultimate five years of his profession with the Bengals.

Whitworth has since joined Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football” coverage. And as he detailed, while he might need interest in re-joining the Bengals, lots would go into a possible reunion.

“I like adventures,” Whitworth told Schrager on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. “I like taking over possibilities. So, to me there’s at all times one.

Obviously, there’s numerous things that will go into it. I mean, I’m technically under contract still with the Rams, and I’d need to, I’d need to kick off the old, uh, dust a bit bit and see if I could see if these tires could still move a bit bit. But you understand what, I’d, I’d never say no to the choice, but, you understand, I do not know. It’d need to be a sit-down convo with, with [my wife] Melissa and the children and say, ‘Hey, can we do that again or not?’

Moreover, Whitworth noted that he would face one other challenge in becoming a Bengal. He would probably have to exchange Collins on the precise side of the road as a substitute of playing his usual left tackle position.

“I feel sometimes people don’t understand whenever you flip sides, what a challenge that’s whenever you’ve only done it a method,” Whitworth explained. “And I’ve only played left tackle my entire profession. So, whenever you flip your feet and play the opposite way, it’s totally difficult. It’s almost like you’ve got never done it before in some senses. There’s only just a few guys which are good at it. So, for me, it really would not be about tarnishing the legacy. It would be about I do not wanna let those guys down.”

MORE: Mic’d up Andrew Whitworth tells his kids he’s retiring after winning Super Bowl 56

It doesn’t look like the Bengals are holding out hope that Whitworth will return when considering all of those aspects.

Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor was asked a couple of potential reunion with Whitworth and he pointed toward the team’s in-house options because the more likely replacements for Collins.

“We got good people within the constructing that we trust,” Taylor said, per the Dayton Every day News. “I feel our scouting department does a terrific job of at all times evaluating our options. I at all times trust them if they bring about any individual to you and say, ‘Hey, take a peek.’ We’ll at all times try this. But again, we’ve got guys that we’ve had in here developing, working in our system, that we’ve got a high degree of trust in that can assist us do the things that we want to this yr.”

MORE: Andrew Whitworth, Mike Florio clash after Whitworth-to-Cowboys rumors

As such, it seems that Hakeem Adeniji goes to start out for the primary time this season. The 2020 sixth-round select of Kansas made nine starts in 2021, all at the precise guard position, but is looking forward to moving back to tackle.

“It was form of latest playing guard last yr,” Adeniji told reporters Tuesday, per ESPN. “It’s form of more natural playing tackle. Having that full camp and early season, versus last yr, I definitely feel lots higher.”

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