Donte Whitner headed back to hometown Browns

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Donte Whitner reportedly is headed back to his hometown of Cleveland. (USATSI)
Donte Whitner reportedly is headed back to his hometown of Cleveland. (USATSI)

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With the Browns likely about to lose safety T.J. Ward to free agency, they're reportedly about to gain another high-profile safety in Donte Whitner.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Whitner, a Cleveland native, will be returning to play for his hometown team beginning in 2014.

"This would be a chance for him to come back home and give back to the community," a source told reporter Mary Kay Cabot. "He feels it's his responsibility to make his hometown a better place.

The 28-year-old ranks No. 20 on our CBSSports.com free agent list -- even if he can't figure out whether he wants to keep the "W" at the beginning of his surname -- but he figures to be cheaper than Jairus Byrd, who could become the highest-paid free agency in NFL history whenever and wherever he signs a deal.

Whitner has spent the last three seasons with the 49ers, and he's coming off a strong performance in 2013. He ranked as the No. 6 safety according to Pro Football Focus, and he accumulated 82 tackles, two interceptions and a career-high 15 pass break-ups.

Later Tuesday, Whitner tweeted his excitement about going back to Ohio.

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