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Bengals reward LT Whitworth with extension through 2015

CINCINNATI -- Left tackle Andrew Whitworth received a two-year contract extension that could keep him with the Bengals through 2015.

The deal, which was announced Wednesday, recognizes Whitworth's standing as the team's best offensive lineman and one of its leaders. He's the first Bengals player to receive a contract extension since the NFL lockout ended.

"You want to extend the guys who you know are committed to the program," Whitworth said. "It's good to see the hard work you put in and to be able to get it to work for both sides."

Whitworth was a second-round draft pick in 2006, when he moved into the Bengals' starting lineup. He emerged as one of the NFL's best tackles the last two seasons, when he started every game.

Whitworth was a team captain and a representative to the players' union. He assumed a leadership role during the lockout, helping to organize workouts in Cincinnati.

"Whit is a very fine player and also a team leader, so this is obviously good news for our team," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "It's good to get this done before the regular season begins."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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