Wayne Gretzky Implores Rams’ Whitworth To Consider Great Career Goal

Life is good right now for Andrew Whitworth. The Los Angeles Rams’ offensive lineman is basking in the glow of a Super Bowl title, becoming at 40, the oldest offensive lineman ever to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.

It figured to be the crowning achievement for a decorated player, both on and off the field. Whitworth was also named the 2021 Walter Payton Man of the Year. With nothing left to accomplish in his NFL career, the stage seems set for Whitworth to ride off into retirement.

But not everyone thinks it’s time for Whitworth to say goodbye. In fact, Whitworth recently had a conversation with one of his neighbors in Sherwood, CA, and it has the 17-year veteran giving a return in 2022 a second thought.

That neighbor? The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Some Great advice: ‘Only one thing better than winning one, and that’s winning two’

Whitworth has now accomplished something in his NFL career that the great Gretzky could not do in the NHL: Bring a championship to Los Angeles.

But Gretzky won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s before famously being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. The four titles came in a pair of back-to-back championships, in 1984-85 and 1987-88.

So when Gretzky recently spoke with Whitworth, and the two discussed Whitworth’s upcoming decision on retirement, Gretzky gave him a goal to strive for.

“I’ll never forget after we won the game, ‘The Great One,’ Wayne Gretzky, called me, ‘cause I live out here near him in Sherwood,” Whitworth said Wednesday on NFL Network’s ‘Total Access’. “He was like, ‘Hey Whit, there’s only one thing better than winning one, and that’s winning two.’ And I said, ‘You know what, I can’t argue with you.’”

Despite Gretzky’s assist, Whitworth is still leaning toward retirement

Gretzky’s appeal to Whitworth’s competitive drive certainly struck a chord. But in the same breath, Whitworth appeared to tip his hand.

“I definitely think, I’m definitely leaning towards probably being done,” Whitworth said. “I think that that’s probably best for me at this time in my career. There’s obviously days I’m waking up right now that I don’t know if I want to do that. It’s battling that a little bit.

“It’s gonna be tough. One way or another it’s gonna be a tough decision. There’s a lot that goes into that. Obviously, the family’s involved. Me making sure that my commitment level to being the kind of player that I expect myself to be each and every Sunday is a part of that.”

The 40-year-old said he is likely to decide his future within the next few weeks

“I’m kind of waiting for another couple of weeks. Just right before the league year starts, I’ll make a decision,” Whitworth said. “Trying to get away from the game as much as I can.

Whitworth offered a tiny clue on the prospects of Aaron Donald’s return

In the course of Wednesday’s interview, Whitworth said he recently saw Aaron Donald in the Rams’ weight room. Donald is also considering retirement after winning the Super Bowl, telling NBC’s Rodney Harrison before the Super Bowl 56 that the game might be his last.

During the Rams’ championship parade, Donald and head coach Sean McVay had a jovial back-and-forth about returning in 2022, but Whitworth thought Donald’s presence at the team facility was “a positive sign” that Donald might be back.

Now the question is, will Whitworth be joining him on the field.

“I’ll come to a conclusion here soon to give the Rams a chance to make the moves they need to one way or another,” Whitworth said. “But man, what an awesome ride it’s been if this is the end.”

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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