Notes: Whitworth supports old Pro Bowl; A.J. savors start; Lewis picks Ravens


Andrew Whitworth

Updated: 1-24-13, 3:50 a.m.

Count Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth as one of those moved by Peyton's Pep Talk Tuesday night at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

Whitworth, the Bengals player representative to the NFL Players Association, agrees with Manning that the game should be played competitively enough so that it's moved back to the week after the Super Bowl instead of the week before.

"We all have to work together to make the level of play better. It's a challenge to make the game special and move it back to where it used to be," Whitworth said. "Those great teams that go to the Super Bowl, win or lose, should be able to have the great experience of going to a Pro Bowl."

Whitworth is making his first Pro Bowl in his seven seasons Sunday (7 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5), but he says it wasn't only the fans and Commissioner Roger Goodell that were upset about the lack of effort in last year's game. He said there were plenty of players that were bothered.

"There's not any guy here that doesn't agree that it's getting a little ridiculous," Whitworth said. "I don't think it's so much about going out and playing hard. You can make the game better without hurting each other. It's about taking care of each other, too. Guys have done that. In training camp when you practice against each other. You can compete in a good way and also take care of each other. That's kind of how this game has to be."

Manning made his remarks Tuesday night to both the AFC and NFC teams and Whitworth said he went right for the jugular. He said Manning was particularly effective when he talked about coming to this game as a youngster when dad Archie made it. He may have been laying it on thick since he wasn't quite yet three, but his point was well made.

"He touched guys' competitive juices," Whitworth said. "He called out guys and said guys aren't playing in this game for no specific reason. He said we need to encourage guys to play. If you're out there, you're selected, you should play."

Whitworth said he thought Manning was talking to the new generation of stars in a game stocked with rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson.

"He talked about what it meant to kids and he even talked about being here with his dad," Whitworth said. "It seems like everyone is at the stage in their life of having kids. There are kids everywhere, that's for sure. Peyton and myself have twins right at the same age (nearly two). Kyle (Williams) has kids about the same age. Jason Witten and a couple of other guys, so we're spending a lot of time together. It's been a lot of fun."

GREEN SAVORS START:Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green checked in via phone from the Pro Bowl on Wednesday and says it's a lot more fun the second time around.

"Now I'm not as worried; I can relax," said Green, who usually looks about as worried as Ferris Bueller. "Now I know what I'm doing. And this time I'm starting. That's fun."

And while he may not have his own quarterback like he did last year in Andy Dalton when he was the No. 3 receiver, Green has some guy named Peyton Manning.

"Great quarterback and a funny guy," Green said. "He's really funny."

It's pretty much the same old gang with defensive tackle Geno Atkins and tight end Jermaine Gresham, with Whitworth replacing Dalton.

"He deserved it," Green said. "He's having a good time."

Green remains Mr. Consistency. He has the same three guests he had last season: His parents and girlfriend.

MARV TAKES RAVENS: Any surprise? As he watched the special teams portion of Wednesday morning's North workout at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis picked the Ravens to win next week's Super Bowl. It will be recalled he made his name as Baltimore's defensive coordinator that set NFL records on the way to the 2000 title.

But he says this time the Ravens will win because of their offense.

"I like Baltimore's chances. I think they have the ability to strike the ball over the top that other than with the tight end, San Francisco probably doesn't have," Lewis said. "I think their vertical passing game, in my opinion, gives them the edge."

NEXT STEP: In Lewis's 10 seasons, three AFC North teams have made the Super Bowl. Add the '12 Ravens to the '05 and '08 Steelers. After watching a Ravens team that the Bengals split with in '10 and '12 make it, Lewis sees how the Bengals can get over the hump and he's talking about maturity.

"We've got to mature and go make big plays in big games. You have to perform," Lewis said. "You have to make big catches, big throws, big defensive stops, big plays defensively, interceptions. All those things that got Baltimore into this game.

"Baltimore was hanging on by a thread (in last Sunday's AFC title game) and they make a big interception and the game changes. They made a big play down the sidelines before halftime in the division game to put them in the championship game. Those are the things. You just have to keep believing in yourself, keep working hard and get it done."

LEWIS ON ANDRE: Lewis is not pleased that Andre Smith was arrested last week for trying to board a plane with a loaded pistol. He has talked to him and no doubt it wasn't an easy conversation for Smith.

"He's a smart guy that got involved in a dumb situation; an oxymoron," Lewis said. "He's a smart guy that got involved in a dumb situation that caused him an embarrassment for a moment."

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