SANTA CLARA -- Safety Donte Whitner dreams of a playoff rematch against the New Orleans Saints.
A couple days after the 49ers’ loss to the Saints on Nov. 17, Whitner informed the media via Twitter he had some things he wanted to get off his chest. But he did not make himself available to the media last week. On Wednesday, he finally vented publicly about the penalty on 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks against quarterback Drew Brees that he believes was legal, wrongly called and, ultimately, led to a loss.
Brooks also was fined $15,750 for striking Brees' neck area after NFL director of operations Merton Hanks ruled referee Tony Corrente made the proper call.
”So that’s not right because he did everything that 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.”
Whitner explained he was not questioning Brees’ toughness – only his physical stature.
“He can’t take a hit,” Whitner said. “Ahmad is, what, 260 pounds? (Brees is), what, 6-foot, 190 (actually, listed at 209 pounds)? Just because it looks bad, because this guy’s in the weight room and does his job – rush the quarterback and put a hit on him, which is part of the game of football. He can’t take a hit.
“Drew Brees and those guys are over there celebrating. We kind of have a formula against those guys and hopefully we’ll see them again in the playoffs.”
The Saints trailed 20-17 with three minutes left at the time of the play that negated a turnover. New Orleans kicked two field goals in the final minutes for a 23-20 victory.
“We look at him as being one of the greats, but come and beat us,” Whitner said of Brees. “Come and win a football game. Don’t take that one. They didn’t earn that football game. We felt like we had an opportunity to win it, we felt like we outplayed them and we felt like we should have won. So hopefully, we’ll see them again.”
Whitner was fined $21,000 earlier this season for an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit against Rams wide receiver Chris Givens that broke up a potential touchdown pass. Whitner’s appeal of the fine was heard by former NFL offensive lineman Matt Birk. He said the fine money was never deducted from his paycheck, leading him to believe he won the appeal.
”I appealed it three, four days later, I talked to them on the phone,” Whitner said. “I didn’t get fined. They didn’t take the money from me. I haven’t heard from them since, and it’s been about six weeks. So I don’t know what’s going on.”
Whitner said he would like to see plays such as the hit Brooks made against Brees and his own play against Givens be subject to review so that a blown call does not result in more game-changing calls.
“I knew it was going to cost us a game at some point,” Whitner said. “And it’s going to cost another team a game when it really matter. And it might be the playoffs. It could be the Super Bowl. So we really need to get something done about that – replay, something – so it doesn’t cost us football games. Because we really deserved to win that game.”