SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Meet Mr. Hitner.
Called by that name for years out of respect for his hard-hitting defense, San Francisco safety Donte Whitner has filed paperwork in Ohio through his lawyer to formally change his name by removing the 'W' — after receiving permission from his mother, Deborah, to do so.
Whitner has been in touch with Nike to determine how many No. 31 Whitner jerseys are still in retail stores and whether he might need to financially contribute to make the switch.
While Whitner would love to debut his new name for Sunday night's prime-time game with the Houston Texans, he said it realistically would probably take another week before his new name is on the back of his uniform. That would be Oct. 13 at Arizona.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org