ATLANTA -- One of the best left tackles in the NFL has a big offseason decision looming.
"You know, I don't know," he said. "Some guys in the locker room were begging me to not say anything like that. So, you know, I have no idea. I really don't. I still love playing. I still love the game. I still feel great. Still play at a high level. We'll see. I'll let the offseason play out and kinda see what's best for the franchise, what's best for me, and we'll kind of see what happens."
If it's the end of the line for the behemoth blocker still playing at a high level, it ends on one of the most disappointing offensive performances of any Super Bowl in history.
Whitworth, however, takes a broader view when considering the 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
"I'm disappointed, but man, you know what, I've played 13 years, played almost 13,000 snaps of NFL football," he said. "Man, I love the game. I love every bit of it. You're not going to get me to pout and feel sorry for myself. I realize what this game means. I cherish the crap out of it. And I don't give a crap if you have a Hall of Fame bust, if you're a Pro Bowler or win 20 Super Bowls. At the end of the day, you're all going to die...
"For me, what means the most is guys see me hold my head high, they see me confident in them and loving them. And there for them in any way I can."
After spending 11 years in Cincinnati never winning a playoff game, perhaps the "we're all going to die" nihilism makes sense.
In Los Angeles, Whitworth views Sunday's super loss as a wound to be learned from on the path toward winning the ultimate team prize.
"I could see this being the beginning steps," he said. "That's the first thing (Julian) Edelman said to me when I congratulated him, he was like, 'Man, you guys are going to be really good for some time now.' And I think it's true. I think we have a lot of young talented football players, and I think this year guys really showed they have the ability to be special."
Whether Whitworth decides to be part of that growing, young team is a question he'll have to answer in the coming weeks.