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December 26, 2013
Donter Whitner: NFL needs hard-hitting poster boy

Safety Donte Whitner said he was not fined by the NFL for his second-quarter hit on Falcons running back Steven Jackson on Monday, which drew both unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against him.

In fact, Whitner noted he hasn't had money docked from his paycheck for any of the allegedly illegal hits for which he's been flagged this season. He was fined $21,000 for a hit on Rams receiver Chris Givens in Week 4, but he said he won his appeal.

Whitner said officials are misinterpreting any violent hit as an illegal one. Instead, he feels his technique should be held up as a model by a league that wants to do away with dangerous hits but ostensibly wants to preserve the toughness of the game.

"You have to have a poster boy in the National Football League who can still hit hard and do it the right way and show people how to do it the right way," he said. "And even if it looks bad, it's not bad. It's the shoulder. It's not launching. It's not using the crown of my helmet. It's playing the game the way it's supposed to be played and trying to tweak it in those really, really fast moments when you hit a guy."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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