It’s been quite the 24 hours for recently retired Super Bowl champion offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. The 40-year-old had a remarkable 16-year NFL career — in a position known for lack of durability — that earned him four Pro Bowl and two All-Pro nods. What does this have to do with the Dallas Cowboys? Great question.
On yesterday’s “Thursday Night Football” telecast on Amazon Prime, Whitworth was interviewed by sideline reporter Kaylee Hartung. This was just a few hours after the news broke that Cowboys OT Tyron Smith suffered an avulsion fracture on his knee during a preseason practice that would keep him out until at least December.
Hartung asked the former Ram if his phone had been ringing a lot lately. Here was his exact response:
"“It has. Obviously there have been some things with the Cowboys. Losing Tyron Smith is an awful deal. He’s such a great player and a guy I’ve just always loved watching play. It’s been a busy day of answering calls. The problem is they’re calling and texting the wrong person. They need to be texting and calling Melissa Whitworth and the kids because they have final approval on whether I’m ever going to play football again.”"
Did Whitworth say his phone was ringing and mention the Cowboys? Yes. But he did not say that the Cowboys called him. That’s not what Pro Football Talk published, and that didn’t make Whitworth very happy.
The former OL later clarified that he’d been getting calls and texts all day from reporters, friends, and Cowboys fans begging him to play for Dallas after hearing about Smith, but the franchise did not directly call him. That would be tampering, by the way, because he is still on the Rams’ reserve/retired list, meaning Dallas would need permission to reach out in any way.
Many outlets besides Pro Football Talk started to spread rumors that Whitworth was in contact with the Cowboys. He did everything he could to squash that.
Andrew Whitworth vehemently denies that the Cowboys ever directly called him after the Tyron Smith injury
Whether you believe the writer of the original PFT article made a fair assumption or not, a battle between Whitworth and Mike Florio (the founder of PFT) sparked on Twitter. Whitworth’s wife Melissa even took to Twitter to express her support of her husband.
On Friday, Florio posted a follow-up to the original Thursday story with the headline “Andrew Whitworth backs away from comments strongly suggesting that the Cowboys have called him.” A bit aggressive, if you ask me. That also didn’t sit well with Whitworth.
While we would all love Whitworth to help replace Smith, it seems like the former lineman has thrown some very cold water on that concept. For what it’s worth, the Cowboys have also denied reaching out to the former Ram and continue to reiterate that they plan to use in-house options to fill the void of Smith.
However, none of this stopped Micah Parsons from responding to Whitworth and telling him to suit up on Sundays. We appreciate the recruiting, Micah.