CLEVELAND — The Browns have released veteran safety Donte Whitner.
The 30-year-old Whitner is the latest starter to be discarded by Cleveland's new front office, which recently released linebacker Karlos Dansby, the team's leading tackler last season. The Browns also chose not to re-sign starters Alex Mack, Mitchell Schwartz, Tashaun Gipson or Travis Benjamin in free agency.
A Cleveland native, Whitner started 14 games last season and 30 in his two years with the Browns, who signed him as a free agent in 2014. Known for his punishing hits, Whitner made the Pro Bowl in 2014 but didn't play as well last season, when the Browns' secondary was ravaged by injuries.
His departure and the loss of Gipson means the Browns are without their primary starting safeties from 2015. Jordan Poyer will compete for a starting job this year and the club will likely address the position in the draft.
Cleveland I'm gone!— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) April 2, 2016
love you Cleveland. My plan is in a different place. Their playing MONEYBALL now! Be blessed!— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) April 3, 2016
I just wish they had common courtesy and would've done it weeks ago when free agency was going on... #25thHour... But I'll bounce back!— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) April 3, 2016