Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth has been added to the AFC squad for the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today. The game will be played in Honolulu on Jan. 27.
Whitworth was a first alternate in last month's voting, and he will replace Denver's Ryan Clady, who will be unable to play due to an injury. It's the first Pro Bowl selection for Whitworth, a seventh-year NFL player in 2012. He was a Bengals second-round draft choice out of Louisiana State in 2006.
"This is recognition for Whit that we've felt was overdue," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He's been a key part of all our success in recent years, a great player on the field and a key leader in our locker room."
Whitworth became Cincinnati's starting LOT in 2009. The Bengals have reached the postseason in three of his four years at the position, including 2012, and are one of only seven teams to make as many as three playoff trips in that span. Whitworth has started every game since 2009, and his streak of 67 consecutive starts (including postseason) is the longest on the current team. This past season he was a key pass protector as second-year QB Andy Dalton threw 27 TD passes, and Dalton's 47 career TD throws are third-most in NFL history for a QB in his first two seasons, trailing only Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.
Also this past season, Whitworth aided a career-high rushing total of 1094 yards for HB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a fifth-year pro who was in his first Bengals season.
The Bengals now have four players headed for the Pro Bowl, matching last season's total. DT Geno Atkins and WR A.J. Green were voted to the AFC team last month, both as starters, and TE Jermaine Gresham was added last week after being voted a first alternate. It is possible that more Bengals players voted as alternates could be added to the squad at a later date.