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January 23, 2014
Donte Whitner wins local media's good-guy award

whitnerNiver.jpg

Who are the best players to deal with in the 49ers locker room from a media perspective? The reporters who cover the team on a daily basis gave their voted for the annual Garry Niver Award - a.k.a., the good-guy award - and safety Donte Whitner was the run-away winner. Whitner also won the award in 2011.

Whitner was always available, was always interesting and spoke intelligently on an array of issues, from teammate Ahmad Brooks' summertime incident involving a beer bottle to rookie hazing relating to Miami's Richie Ingognito and Jonathan Martin to the league's policy on hard hits. Whitner was a true professional from the offseason through to the NFC Championship game. He received six of nine first-place votes.

Fullback Bruce Miller came in second, center Jonathan Goodwin came in third. Others receiving votes were: safety Eric Reid, tackle Joe Staley, cornerback Carlos Rogers, nose tackle Glenn Dorsey, cornerback Tarell Brown, kicker Phil Dawson and running back Frank Gore. My three votes went to, in order: Whitner, Goodwin and Rogers.

Garry Niver Award winners:
2012: Frank Gore
2011: Donte Whitner
2010: Takeo Spikes'
2009: Alex Smith and Shaun Hill
2008: Eric Heitmann
2007: Frank Gore
2006: Bryant Young
2005: Julian Peterson
2004: Jeff Ulbrich
2003: Jeff Garcia
2002: Dana Stubblefield
2001: Jeff Garcia
2000: Lance Schulters
1999: Jerry Rice
1998: Tim McDonald
1997: Ray Brown
1996: Steve Wallace
1995: Steve Young
1994: Tim McDonald
1993: Jesse Sapolu

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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