Aug 6, 2011 8:15 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Donte Whitner stepped on the field for the first time with the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, elcoming the responsibility that comes with his new role as the most experienced and highest-paid safety on the team.
Whitner officially signed his three-year deal with San Francisco earlier in the day, giving the 49ers a veteran leader in their revamped secondary and a missing piece in the 3-4 scheme being implemented by new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Whitner's aggressive in-the-box style is well-suited to Fangio's defense, and the sixth-year veteran also is determined to help mend what's broken in a unit that ranked 24th in the NFL last season in passing defense.
Whitner signed a deal reportedly worth $11.75 million with $4 million guaranteed. He chose the 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)