Whitner with the Cleveland Browns in 2014
|No. -- Free agent|
|Date of birth:||July 24, 1985|
|Place of birth:||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||208 lb (94 kg)|
|High school:||Cleveland (OH) Glenville|
|NFL Draft:||2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2016|
Donte Demetrius Whitner Sr. (born July 24, 1985) is an American football strong safety who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Ohio State, and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills eighth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. Whitner has also played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Washington Redskins.
Whitner was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the older brother of former Connecticut Huskies defensive end Lindsey Witten. He attended Glenville High School in Cleveland. After his senior high school football season he was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game. He attended Ohio State, not finishing his degree, and then enrolling at San Jose State University.
When Whitner was six years old he was hit by an oncoming car after chasing a loose football down the street. He had up to 30 fractures in his legs from the impact and was told that he might not be able to walk again. The oncoming car suffered significant body damage. He spent three months in a full body cast but recovered.
Whitner was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the eighth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. On August 7, he signed a five-year $29 million contract. In his first career game, he recorded his first career interception against Tom Brady. The ruling on the field was a touchdown, but was later overruled when replay showed that Whitner had stepped out of bounds. He finished 2006 with 104 total tackles and one interception for 10 yards. In 2009, Whitner recorded his first career touchdown on a 76-yard interception return from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Byron Leftwich in Week 2. His most productive game to date was in Week 12 of the 2010 season, where he recorded 18 total tackles against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
San Francisco 49ers
On August 4, 2011, Whitner signed with the San Francisco 49ers. After previously announcing on Twitter that he would be going to the Cincinnati Bengals, he changed his mind and signed with San Francisco. He agreed to a three-year, $11.75 million deal with $4 million guaranteed. After his performance in his first year as a 49er, he was named to the USA Today All Joe Team During the 2011 playoffs, Whitner became famous for making vicious hits like against New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas as he was driving for a touchdown. The hit forced a fumble recovered by the 49ers and took Thomas out for the rest of the game.
In 2013, in a game against the St. Louis Rams, Whitner was fined for a hit on receiver Chris Givens. In response to the fine, he indicated that he would be legally changing his last name from "Whitner" to "Hitner", dropping the "W" from his surname. In an appearance on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on November 27, 2013, Whitner indicated that his request was to be processed on November 19, but had to be withdrawn when he was unable to honor the judge's requirement that he appear in court. During the same interview, Whitner indicated that he would pursue his name change during the offseason.
Whitner signed a four-year deal worth $28 million with the Cleveland Browns on March 11, 2014. On April 2, 2016, Whitner was released by the team. With his release, the Cleveland Browns cleared $3.95 million of cap space.
On October 5, 2016, Whitner signed with the Washington Redskins. After two games with the team, he became the starter at strong safety. He was placed on injured reserve on December 28 due to a quad injury.
- "Whitner on Pro-Football-Reference". rbref.com.
- Rosenthal, Gregg (October 2, 2013). "Donte Whitner says he's changing last name to 'Hitner'". National Football League. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner: 'We feel like it's our time'". NFL Network. November 27, 2013. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner lead Cleveland Browns' free-agent crop
- "Browns release DB Donte Whitner". Clevelandbrowns.com. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- Czarda, Stephen (October 5, 2016). "Redskins Sign Safeties Donte Whitner And Josh Evans". Redskins.com.
- Tesfatsion, Master (October 25, 2016). "Redskins' defense snap counts vs. the Lions: Donte Whitner starts at strong safety". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
- Czarda, Stephen (December 28, 2016). "Redskins Sign Josh Evans, Place Donte Whitner Sr. On Injured Reserve". Redskins.com. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- "Donte Whitner Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
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