Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022 Super Bowl: How Joe Burrow formed a bond with Rams’ Andrew Whitworth while rehabbing during rookie season

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Joe Burrow and Andrew Whitworth were never teammates with the Cincinnati Bengals, yet Whitworth took the opportunity to pass on his vast knowledge toward the team’s franchise quarterback. Whitworth spent 11 seasons with the Bengals before spending the last five years with the Los Angeles Rams, a franchise left tackle for two different organizations.

Burrow and Whitworth both have won national championships at LSU, which is how the two got to know each other. Their Bengals connection also played a role when both were going through major knee injuries last season. 

“When I got hurt, you know I lived about 40 minutes from where he was living — and we were both hurt at the same time,” Burrow said on his relationship with Whitworth at Super Bowl LVI media day. “So I would go over to his house and watch the games on Sunday. I spent my birthday at his house and I also spent his birthday at his house. So that was kind of a cool thing that he did for me, reaching out to me and making the rehab process a little easier.

“Being in California, away from a lot of people who were close to me. He kind of took me in and we had some good times hanging out, watching football, and talking about the Bengals and LSU and all that. So he’s became a good friend.”

Whatever Whitworth helped Burrow out with during the rehab process, both players rebounded in a big way in 2021. Burrow became the first No. 1 overall pick to start a Super Bowl within his first two seasons and has completed 73% of his passes with 13 touchdown passes to just two interceptions over his past six starts. Burrow led the league in completion percentage (70.4%) and yards per attempt (8.9) while throwing for 4,611 yards with 34 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. 

Whitworth, in turn, allowed five sacks, two quarterback hits, and 16 pressures in 926 pass-blocking snaps. His pass-blocking grade of 90.7 (via Pro Football Focus) is his highest since the 2016 season. Keep in mind, Whitworth is 40 and the oldest player in the league now that Tom Brady is retired. 

Both are in the Super Bowl and both developed a strong friendship. Whitworth could be a veteran mentor for Burrow in the years to come.  

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