This article was first published on YahooSports.com on Feb. 3, 2019, and can be seen here.
Losing a Super Bowl is one of the worst feelings for any player or coach in the NFL — especially in the immediate aftermath of the game.
“I realize what this game means. I cherish the crap out of it,” Whitworth said. “I don’t give a crap if you have a Hall of Fame bust, if you’ve been a Pro Bowler or win 20 Super Bowls.
“At the end of the day, we’re all gonna die.”
By itself, the first part of Whitworth’s quote sounds extremely grim — and applicable to just about any situation today.
It does make a lot of sense, though, and he’s technically not wrong. We all will die someday.
He continued, though, which turned the quote around completely.
“Who you are, how you carry yourself, whether you pout and feel sorry for yourself is the only thing that’s going to matter,” Whitworth said. “That’s what people are going to remember about you. So for me, what means the most is that guys see me holding my head up high. They see me confident in them and loving them and there for them in anyway I can moving forward.”
The 37-year-old just wrapped up his 13th season in the NFL — the first 11 of which he spent with the Cincinnati Bengals. While he said he will consider retirement, he wasn’t sure immediately after the game whether he’d return for a 14th season next fall.
Either way, Whitworth has some fantastic perspective after what was perhaps the most painful loss of his career.
That’s a tough thing to find among players in his situation.
“You’re talking to a guy who had never won a playoff game, so it’s a good year that you made it to the championship and had a chance to hoist the trophy,” Whitworth told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “But, we didn’t do enough, so you’re sick about that. You’re going to look at yourself harshly and see what it is that made us fall short, but you got to take a lot of pride in what we were able to do and the football games we were able to win, which was a lot of them. Obviously, a great year for our team. (It) just didn’t finish in a championship way.”