Andrew Whitworth wants to stay with Bengals on one condition

Team captain, coaches may be at odds over future
Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-30 13:56:16-05

CINCINNATI — Andrew Whitworth says he wants to stay with the Bengals in 2017 under one condition:

The 11-year veteran is insisting on playing where he's always played - left tackle - and that might not work into the Bengals' plans.

Whitworth is one of 15 Bengals who could become free agents in the offseason, and he says he'll go elsewhere if the Bengals plan to move him to guard or right tackle.

That's a change of heart from last spring, when Whitworth pledged allegiance to the Bengals and said he'd never wear another uniform.

But Bengals coaches have to find out if they can get any ROI from drafting Cedric Ogbuehi in the first round in 2015. Ogbuehi has been a bust at right tackle, and former Bengals lineman Dave Lapham, now team broadcaster, says Ogbuehi would be better on the left side because he's dominantly left-handed.

Whitworth found himself playing guard last week because Clint Boling was inactive with an injured shoulder. The Bengals compensated by moving Ogbuehi from right tackle to left tackle and moving Whitworth into Boling's spot. Jake Fisher, a second-round pick in 2015, started at right tackle.

Whitworth should be back at tackle this week after the Bengals put Ogbuehi on injured reserve Friday.

FAY: Bengals would be wise to re-sign Whitworth

Whitworth says he has wondered all season if Sunday's meaningless game against the Ravens will be his last in a Bengals uniform.

 "All season long I've put this game out of my mind just because of that," the team captain said. "It'd be tough for it to be the last time you run out there — here."

Both the Bengals (5-9-1) and the Ravens (8-7) have been eliminated from playoff contention, so forgive Whitworth if he gets melancholy.

"I think it's definitely in the back of your mind. You try to keep it there until the game is over, and you play the way you want to play," he said.

Coach Marvin Lewis, who has a year left on his contract, didn't respond Wednesday to an sports-talk host's rumor that he will resign after Sunday's game. Lewis has indicated he plans to return.

After keeping the core of its team intact the past few years, Cincinnati could be looking at more sweeping changes in the offseason, particularly on a defense that's among the oldest in the league.

For some of them, it will be their final game in a striped helmet.

"I don't want to think like that," said cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, a potential free agent.