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Not at Whit's end


    Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth is again looking forward to the next season.

Like everyone else, Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth, was devastated Saturday night. The 18-16 Wild Card loss to the Steelers left the team elder so numb that he can't even remember what time he left the locker room in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

But it didn't take it all out of him. At age 34, the oldest Bengal is ready to saddle up for at least one more ride in 2016 in what will be his 11th season.

"I'm going to do everything possible to be back and ready to go," said Whitworth, who signed a year extension early in the season.   "It hurt. It was a traumatic thing. But at the end of the day the character of team is we rebuild. We'll have new resolve, a new mantra."

If Whitworth plays all 16 games at left tackle like he has this season and six of the last seven, he'll have played in 168 games, the fourth most ever by a Bengals offensive lineman.

 He would trail only Hall of Fame left tackle Anthony Munoz (185 games), right tackle Willie Anderson  (181) and guard-center Bruce Kozerski (172) while passing right tackle Joe Walter (166), guard Max Montoya (157) and center Bob Johnson (154). This year he passed center Rich Braham (146) and guard Dave Lapham (140).

"I didn't sign up to play football just so people pat me on the back," Whitworth said. "I play to compete and be a positive influence for my teammates on and off the field. Until I'm not allowed or incapable to compete anymore, I will always be there for my team.

"You get knocked down, you get up, brush off, regroup, march forward. That's all I can control."

The Bengals offensive line should return relatively intact with the only possible hole the potential free agent departure of right tackle Andre Smith. The Bengals were extremely impressed with first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi once he came off the injured list in November and they could line him up there if Smith leaves.

VJ DAY: After watching one of their secondary coaches leave to become the Dolphins defensive coordinator on Tuesday, it's believed the Bengals are mulling turning to a familiar face to replace Vance Joseph. Kevin Coyle, who was the Dolphins defensive coordinator for four seasons before this year's mid-season shakeup, had been the Bengals secondary coach for 11 seasons before taking the Miami job.

 As Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported last week, Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke is following Joseph to South Beach to hold down the same job.

Joseph arrived from Houston in the wake of Paul Guenther's promotion to defensive coordinator before the 2014 season and immediately established himself as a major factor on the new defensive staff.

In that first season the Bengals had the second-best passer rating against opponents while racking up the league's third most interceptions  and this past season safety Reggie Nelson finished as the league's co-interceptions leader with eight while the Bengals allowed the second fewest touchdown passes in the league with 18 in giving up a franchise-low 277 points.

Coyle, 59, a 15-year NFL veteran, also had a good run in the Bengals secondary. When the Bengals won head coach Marvin Lewis's first AFC North title in 2005, the Bengals led the league with 31 picks the second most in the league when cornerback Deltha O'Neal set the team record with ten.

Coyle was also heavily involved in drafting and developing the Bengals' first two first-round draft picks at cornerback, Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, the co-MVPs of the 2009 AFC North title season. TEZ APPEAL:On Tuesday the agent for Bengals WILL backer Vontaze Burfict confirmed his client's appeal of the three-game suspension handed down by the NFL for repeated violations of the safety code.

Audie Attar also said Burfict hopes to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York to tell his side after being fined more than $100,000 this season, including $50,000 for a Jan. 3 hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams when he was out of play.

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