When left tackle Andrew Whitworth publicly announced his intention to play his 14th NFL season, he did so on social media with a quote.
"A ship is safe in the harbor, but that is not what ships are built for."
In an interview with therams.com that will air in episode two of Behind the Grind, Whitworth explained that he has a number of quotes in a note on his phone, and this one seemed to fit the situation perfectly.
"I think, really, if you think about it, a lot of guys, veteran players, you hear guys takes and why they walk away from the game. And really a lot of the time is the fear of the unknown, right? Staying healthy and what can happen to you and the impact that this game is going to have on you. And I think there's nothing you can really ever do to stop that. So for me it's like, really, at the end of the day, if I still have the passion and desire to play, the reality is, I carry as much risk as I did when I was a rookie in the NFL as I do now. You're always one play away from something bad happening."
"So to me, it's like, just to say, you know what, you're safest avoiding those opportunities. But the reality is, is that what you built yourself for? And for me, I built myself to be a good football player, a great leader, and to have the opportunity to go out and compete on Sundays with a team. And I still have the desire to do that. So that's what I want to go do."
Check out the top photos of the Los Angeles Rams offensive line and quarterbacks from the 2018 season.
And now as he approaches his 14th season, Whitworth says he's as fired up as ever to compete for a championship.
"You know what? I'm excited," he said. "If I can stay healthy for the very first game, it'll be my 200th NFL football game. So that's wild to think, and have an opportunity probably to — if I can stay healthy all year — pass 13, 14,000 snaps in the league, somewhere in there. And, you know, it's just crazy — it's crazy to think about. And I'm looking forward to it.
"I would say right now if I sat where I am, this is the most desire and passion I've had to play in my 14 years. I can't wait for it. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to get out there."
For more on Whitworth and the rest of the offensive line, be sure to catch episode two of Behind the Grind when it premieres on Thursday, March 28.