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Report: Donte Whitner Signs with Cleveland Browns

Posted Mar 11, 2014

Whitner, a Cleveland native and an Ohio State product, started for the 49ers since 2011.

The 49ers secondary will have a different look in 2014.

Safety Donte Whitner, a leader in San Francisco’s defensive backfield the past three seasons, signed a free agent contract with the AFC’s Cleveland Browns on Tuesday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 49ers have agreed to terms with another free agent safety, Indianapolis Colts veteran Antoine Bethea, according to reports.

Whitner, 28, is a Cleveland native and an Ohio State product.

After five years with the Buffalo Bills, Whitner started at safety for the 49ers alongside Dashon Goldson in 2011 and ’12 and, in ‘13, rookie Eric Reid. He recorded five of his 10 career interceptions for San Francisco. He also forced five fumbles, recovered five others and averaged 59 tackles per campaign.

“I honestly could say that I don't think I could have played as well as I played this year without him,” Reid said of Whitner in January. “He's been my mentor coming into the NFL. He gives that player's point of view. I couldn't have asked for a better guy to set the tone for my career."

Whitner will play his first season in Cleveland coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl selections