We’ve heard for years about how impressive it is for 41-year-old Tom Brady to still be playing at an elite level. Rightfully so, but there is someone on the opposing sideline who’s just as, if not more, impressive. At 37 years old, Los Angeles Rams left tackle, Andrew Whitworth, is the other “old man” that will take the field on Super Bowl Sunday.
Before his run with the Rams this season, Whitworth had been 0-7 in playoff games. He’s been joking about retirement for longer than most players careers, but his love for the game keeps him coming back despite the many years of playoff disappointments. His passion may prevent him from retiring, but the oldest starting offensive lineman in the league credits his longevity to a little bit of luck and also being able to successfully maintain his weight.
When I spoke with Andrew, I asked him what special things are required for a man that is 6’7”, 330 pounds, to maintain his weight but still play at a high level. For Whitworth, it all started about six years ago when he began changing from strength training to training just to be in shape. This meant more cardio. “I’d do everything from CrossFitting to going to your Orange Theories and everything else,” Whitworth said. “I’ve worked tirelessly over the last six years to continue to change that number to where, alright, if I’m going to have to be this big to play offensive line in the NFL, how much of it can be productive weight, rather than just weight I’m carrying around.” His hard work shows and he appears to be in much better physical shape than a lot of his younger peers. If it wasn’t for the grey hairs beaming from his beard, you wouldn’t think this was a man nearing the end of his career. When asked if he’s ever considered Tom Brady’s, TB12 Method, Whitworth wasn’t against the idea. “Everything from MMA to diet programs, to whatever you want to think of, I’ve done it all over 13 years,” Whitworth said. “I just believe in ever-changing, and always kind of challenging your body to readapt to a new thing periodically.”
What’s most impressive for a man who plays down in the trenches, Whitworth doesn’t take anti-inflammatories and hasn’t had an antibiotic since he was in college. He played through a high-ankle sprain this season, an injury that puts most players out of action for multiple weeks. While his ankle was healing, he rolled his other ankle and still managed to play all 16 games.
Through two post season games, Tom Brady has been hit three times. Three! He’s been sacked zero. While that is a true testament to how well the Pat’s protect their star, and how great Tom is at getting rid of the ball, the defensive ends that might hit Brady once a game, hit left tackles like Andrew Whitworth just about every play.
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