So Long, Donte
When the news came across twitter late last night that Donte Whitner would be taking his talents to Cincinnati, I found myself grinning like I’d just won the lottery. Goodbye, good luck…..never come back. There isn’t a player I’ve despised more over the past couple years, and a change of scenery for Donte is long overdue.
Whitner, who the 8th overall pick in 2006, was just one of many bad decisions made by former Bills GM Marv Levy. In his tenure with the Bills, Whitner compiled 451 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 5 interceptions. Hardly worth the 8th overall pick. Whitner was touted as a playmaker when he came to town, but made the papers more for his mouth than his abilities on the field. Back in 2008, Whitner guaranteed a playoff berth for the Bills:
When asked if he expects the Bills to make the playoffs, Whitner makes it clear how serious he is. “Do I expect us to make the playoffs?” he says. “I’m guaranteeing it.”
We all know how that worked out. Having confidence is one thing, but guaranteeing a playoff berth when you haven’t made it there in that century is a bit much. Whitner is a player who thinks he’s one of the best in the league, and certainly talks like he’s one. In reality, he is nothing more than an average player who has ridden his 8th overall pick into the media spotlight.
In 2009, Whitner was arrested (and tased) in Cleveland for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest:
Police in Cleveland say they were outside the House of Blues attempting to quell a near riot. Whitner allegedly attempted enter an area where numerous fights were occurring. Officers say that he began swinging his arms in a violent manner when police tried to restrain him then broke free and took a fighting stance. Officials say an officer had to deploy his taser so that officers could put Whitner in handcuffs.
Regardless of the reason for jumping into the brawl, as a professional football player, he should have known better. There were no positive outcomes from an action like the one he took. He told the Bills he wanted to be paid like a top safety this past season. Whether that was his way of saying he did not want to return, or him actually believing he was a top safety I have no idea.
Of all the moves that the Bills have made this offseason, not retaining Whitner may have been their best one. Sadly, Buffalo probably tried to resign him, and it took the player himself leaving to actually make the Bills a better team. Too many times over the past 5 years, I’ve seen plays where Whitner arrives to the play a step late, or drop an easy interception. He never carried his playmaking ability over to the NFL. George Wilson, who figures to start in his place, is a much bigger playmaker. Since 2007, Wilson has 8 interceptions, 4 fumbles recovered, 3.5 sacks and 2 touchdowns, which was mostly done in a backup role. Whitner had just 18 pass breakups for the Bills, compared to Wilson’s 14.
To Whitner’s credit, he has never said anything bad about the city of Buffalo, and has always played very hard. He hated losing, and I have never doubted the commitment and effort he has given while on the team. That is a rare trait in the NFL today, and he deserves to be saluted for it. He could also lay a lick on a player, something Chad Ochocinco could definitely talk about.
In the end, Whitner was just an average NFL play who never lived up to the massive expectations put upon him. While he should have never been drafted 8th, his lack of maturity as an NFL player is ultimately what caused many Bills fans to lose their support of him. Have fun on the Ohio, Donte…I’ll enjoy my Bills much more without you.