Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is the elder statesman in the NFL. He's played for 16 seasons.
Since Tom Brady's retirement, he's the oldest player in the NFL, at 40.
His teammates have given him nicknames to reflect his "old man" status. They call him "Big Whit" and "Unc."
But these monikers are undoubtedly terms of respect. He currently serves as captain for the Rams.
And his coach, Sean McVay, has said:
“I think sometimes you take for granted that he’s 40 years old. If you didn’t know with the bald head and stuff like that, I mean he moves around like he’s young and he’s got great athleticism.
Although Coach McVay's words indicate that Whitworth's athletic performance is still impressive, his off-field charitable work is equally so.
Whitworth Gives his Own Money and his Own Time to Housing and Hunger Charities in Los Angeles and Beyond:
In addition, over the years, Whitworth has written many personal checks to support various good works in Los Angeles and Louisiana.
He and his wife Melissa have donated well over 1 million dollars to worthy causes like the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the Players' Social Justice Fund, and educational initiatives for Louisiana's schoolchildren, to name only a few.
These are significant contributions. But if you thought that Whitworth's involvement only includes writing checks, you'd be wrong.
Working tirelessly for good causes is a family affair for the Whitworths.
Of his family's involvement, Whitworth has said:
"My wife Melissa and I gave the kids a chance to help decide how we as a family could make a difference, and the kids said they wanted to help people struggling with homelessness, which was so rewarding to hear as a parent. Being able to come together as a family and bless other families was incredibly meaningful... This year, we are excited to make it a season-long initiative and broaden our impact in both our home state of Louisiana and our home of Los Angeles."
He's Been Repeatedly Recognized for Giving Back:
Whitworth has been nominated for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year award six times - five with the Rams and one with the Bengals.
This award recognizes NFL players for excellence on and off the field. Each team nominates a player who has had a positive impact on his community.
Here is a Tweet from the Rams announcing Whitworth's 2021 nomination.
In it, there's a very moving video that explains the impact that he has had.
Update: On the evening of Thursday, February 10, 2022, Andrew Whitworth was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
He beat out 31 other candidates for his excellence on the field and outstanding service activities off the field.
He's a Friend and Mentor to Joe Burrow and other Bengals Players:
Whitworth's Rams will face his old team, the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday in the Super Bowl.
Before Whitworth was a Los Angeles Ram, he was a Cincinnati Bengal for 11 seasons.
He and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow shared a doctor when both had knee issues.
Whitworth offered Burrow a place to stay during an orthopedic procedure in California.
Burrow appreciated the hospitality, saying:
"That was a cool thing that he did for me. Reaching out to me and making the rehab process a little easier for me being in California away from a lot of people that are close to me. He took me in. He’s become a good friend.”
Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd also describes Whitworth as a mentor who took the time to help him when he was only a rookie. He explained:
"He was one of the guys who played a big role to me as a rookie. He's a family man first of all, and he's really, really, really determined to be a great leader and a father. He takes pride in everything he does. And, despite his age, it doesn't seem that way, because he does his job to perfection."
Will Whitworth Retire after the Super Bowl?:
Whitworth has said that as long as the Rams want him, he wants to play. He's still under contract for next season.
"More than likely this will be it. There's always a scenario, but to me, I think I've accomplished about everything that I'd wanna accomplish in my career and I've got a lot of other things I want to do...I've got a family that needs me and needs me to make it about them for a little while. So we'll see. More likely, this is it though."
Whatever the future brings for Andrew Whitworth, it's a fair bet that he will continue to support the communities that have supported him.