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Andy Dalton: I’m glad I have a teammate willing to get ejected for me

Andy Dalton,  Andrew Whitworth,  Kelly Jennings

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14), Andrew Whitworth (77) and Kelly Jennings (23) leave the field after losing an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Houston Texans Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in Houston. The Texans won 31-10. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth was ejected on Sunday for going after Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston when Houston took an unnecessary shot at Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. On Monday, Dalton said that incident showed he has just the kind of offensive line any quarterback would want.

Dalton said on NFL Network’s Around the League Live that he didn’t like seeing the officials throw Whitworth, Houston and Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly out of the game as a result of the skirmish, but he did like knowing that he has an offensive lineman who’s sending a message to opposing defensive linemen: If they mess with the Bengals’ quarterback, they’re not going to get away with it.

“I got hit late, and Whit did a good job sticking up for me,” Dalton said. “You love the passion he plays with and you love the aggressiveness he has. Unfortunately, all that kind of took place, guys getting ejected and all that, but as a teammate you love to see that.”

Dalton said he told Whitworth after the game that he liked what he saw.

“I definitely told him, ‘Thanks for sticking up for me’ and all that kind of stuff,’” Dalton said. “It’s always good to have teammates like that.”

As much as Dalton likes Whitworth, Whitworth is talking like a man who loves Dalton. Asked after the game about protecting Dalton, Whitworth said, “I’ve got two contracts in my life. One, with my wife because we’re married. And, two, I’ve got a contract to protect Andy Dalton. I’ll do both of those to the best of my ability.”

Mrs. Whitworth may feel a little weird hearing their holy matrimony compared to the bond between a tackle and his quarterback, but Dalton appreciates the support.