CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Browns are wasting no time filling holes during the free agency period. The Browns had nearly $50 million of cap space to spend and they started with Donte Whitner.
The former San Francisco 49ers free safety agreed to terms on a four year deal worth $28.8 million
Whitner's journey to the Cleveland Browns is one that began just a few short miles to the east of FirstEnergy stadium at Glenville High School where he played for legendary coach Ted Ginn on Friday’s and Saturday’s, while dreaming about playing in Cleveland one day on Sunday’s.
Ginn was like a father to Whitner and Ginn is among the Browns fans excited to see this native son come home.
"It means everything to him, you know always wanting to play for the Browns ever since he was a kid,” Ginn said.
It was as a kid that Whitner's football career almost wasn't. He was hit by a car and almost killed, his legs shattered, his family told he may never walk. He would not only walk again - he would run and he would never look back.
"We eliminate excuses and this is a great example that you know you can't use excuses and be successful in life. You just got to have faith and keep going forward and chase your dream. That's what it's all about, you know, you like to see what you instill in kids that come to the light. And he's an example of hope for everybody else that great things can come off 113th & St. Clair.”
Before playing in last year's Super Bowl with the 49ers, Whitner revealed a tattoo he had that paid tribute to his coach that read "thank god for Ginn."
"Thank God that I was there to help him and thank God that I'm there to help a lot of kids, you know. The scary part is that what if I wasn't there and so you know that means a lot to me that he said that."