Donte Whitner plans to drop the “W” in his last name and legally change it to “Hitner.”
The 49ers Pro Bowl safety confirmed his name-change decision to 49ers.com on Wednesday.
"I sent it to my lawyer and he filed it for me in Ohio," Whitner said.
The 49ers safety doesn't think his name swap is as big as other professional athletes like Chad Ochocinco and Metta World Peace.
"I think one word is not as big as 10 words," Whitner said. "It's my last name and removing a letter makes it pretty cool."
Whitner felt like the name was already supported by his fans.
"If you ask the fans around San Francisco, the Bay Area, or anyone that's a fan of me, they call me Donte Hitner any way," he said. "Everything we do is for the fans right? It's all entertainment. We all understand that. It's entertainment, but that's what I do, it's my game. Along with some things that happened recently, that's why I went with it."
In a tweet from his verified personal account, Whitner revealed the decision was first blessed by his mother. Whitner later announced he would in fact change his name.
It's official...The W is being removed from my last name from Whitner to Hitner...GM — TWHITNER (@DonteWhitner) October 2, 2013
Whitner’s hard-hitting play has been a topic of debate early in the 2013 regular season. The 49ers safety objected to being fined $21,000 for a fourth-quarter hit on St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens.
Whitner maintains that he abides by the NFL’s player-safety rules whenever he steps on the field.
Teammates supported his name change.
"I think it's very fitting for Donte to change it," Colin Kaepernick said.
Some of the 49ers wondered about their own potential name change would be. For fun, wide receiver Kassim Osgood joked that he would change his name to Kassim SoGood.