49ers safety Donte Whitner tweeted out last week that he wanted to talk to the media. Apparently he never had the chance to do so before the Redskins game, so he took the open locker room time Wednesday to address his frustrations over the Ahmad Brooks penalty.
“He did everything he was supposed to do,” Whitner said of Brooks. “It’s not his fault that Drew Brees is a little guy and can’t really take a hit, but that’s football.”
Whitner has been a part of the 49ers’ notoriously hard-hitting defense since 2011, with his trademark moment coming when he stone-walled Pierre Thomas in the first drive of the NFC Divisional Game against the Saints. But with the oft-flagged Dashon Goldson now in Tampa Bay, Whitner has taken over the role of lumberjack in the 49ers secondary. This weekend’s rematch with the Rams brought back memories of his hit on Chris Givens in Week 4 — a hit that drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness and garnered a fine that Whitner appealed. He said he still hasn’t heard from the NFL.
Perhaps the NFL could do well by adopting the same video explanations for fines and flags as the NHL uses for suspensions, but Whitner says the league doesn’t offer explanations, and there’s no one to call. He says he believes it’s hurting the game.
“I knew it was going to cost us a game at some point,” he said of the penalties. “It’s really hurting the game of football, it’s hurting us as players and it hurt the 49ers. It cost us a game, a game that we really needed.”
When Eric Branch asked Whitner to clarify “can’t take a hit,” the strong safety pulled no punches.
“He can’t take a hit,” he said. “Ahmad is — what — 260 lbs, [Drew Brees is] — what — 6’0″ 190? just because it looks bad because this guy is in the weight room and he does his job, rushing the quarterback and putting a hit on him — which is part of the game of football — he can’t take a hit.”
Whitner didn’t mean to say that Brees wasn’t tough, though.
“No I’m not questioning his toughness … his stature,” he said. “We look at him as being one of the greats, but come and beat us. Come and win a football game, don’t take that one. That one, they didn’t earn that football game.”