Sep 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner (31) intercepts a pass intended for St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Donte Whitner Expected To Sign With Cleveland Browns Tuesday


According to a report, the San Francisco 49ers will lose strong safety Donte Whitner in free agency to his hometown Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting (h/t Pro Football Talk) that the veteran safety is expected to sign with the Browns as soon as free agency officially begins at 1 p.m. Pacific.

Whitner would replace T.J. Ward in Cleveland’s secondary, with Ward expected to sign elsewhere in free agency.

The 49ers wanted to bring Whitner back, but Cleveland does have more salary cap room than San Francisco does and there’s the whole, getting to go back home thing. Whitner went to Cleveland’s Glenville High School before going on to attend Ohio State. Whitner was the eighth overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Buffalo Bills and signed with the 49ers as a free agent when the lockout ended in 2011.

In three years with the 49ers, Whitner had five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, while forcing five fumbles, defensing 30 passes and notching 218 tackles. He started 47 of 48 possible games in San Francisco, including all 32 regular-season games the last two seasons.

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