He was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals and started alongside another Lombardi Award winner, Ross Browner, for six seasons (1977-1982) before being traded to the Houston Oilers for one season (1982). He was later named to the Southwest Conference "All Decade Team" for the 70's. Whitley died on October 27, 1992 in Marietta, Georgia, at the age of thirty-seven due to a heart condition. In 1988, he was inducted into University of Houston's Hall of Honor and was a perennial candidate for the National College Football Hall of Fame until his selection in 2007.
The year of death on his stone is incorrect.
30° 19.594, -096° 10.058