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The Rams season ended on a sour note after losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Their offseason, however, is starting off on a high note. One of the in house mysteries was whether or not 37-year-old tackler Andrew Whitworth would return for a 14th season. Whitworth announced via tweet that he would play out the final year of his deal and presumably the last year of his Pro Bowl career. This means that the Rams’ line is now in a much more stable place than it could’ve been.

Whitworth leaving would’ve left the Rams without a left tackle and with guard Roger Saffold leaving in free agency, and center John Sullivan a cap casualty, the Rams line would be in a severe state of flux. They would be left with second-year tackle Joe Noteboom, second-year center Brian Allen, second-year guard Austin Blythe, and Rob Haverstein. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a group of second-year players. This way, Whitworth provides one last year of veteran stability before the young guys take over full time.

Quarterback Jared Goff gets one more year with a Pro Bowl left tackle and that’s good news. Whitworth’s been healthy for the vast majority of his fourteen seasons and that means that while he’s 37 he’s at least durable. The offense needs all the help it can get up front if the Rams are going to make another run at the Super Bowl. Noteboom played well in spots last year but he wasn’t ready to take over just yet. Now he gets one more year to learn from Whitworth and line coach Aaron Kromer.

The other plus to having Andrew Whitworth back is that the Rams get to keep one of their best ambassadors. Whitworth received the NFL’s Alan Page Community Award for his work in the community. He donated $60,000 (or one game check) to the Ventura County¬† Community Foundation’s Conejo Valley Victims Fund following a November 7th shooting in Thousand Oaks. He also put a game jersey up for auction to benefit the Red Cross in the wake of the November wildfires in California where he had to evacuate his own home.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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