When the Cleveland Browns signed free agent Donte Whitner, they gave him a chance to reunite his heart with his body. Whitner is a guy who played his way to the top of his profession, after getting a jump-start while he was at Glenville High School.
Whitner is one of those guys, who hasn’t forgot where he comes from. He left Glenville and attended The Ohio State University and made a name for himself, by doing the things his high school coach Ted Ginn taught him.
Whitner was then drafted into the NFL and continued making a name for himself for being one of the hardest hitting safeties in the NFL.
The nice thing is, he never forgot where he came from, and he never forgot the lessons he learned from coach Ginn and others while he grew up in the East Cleveland area. Where Whitner grew up, on Cleveland’s east side, there is a lot of trouble. He could have walked down the path that many others have followed and ended up dead or on drugs.
Instead, he was one of the lucky ones who worked hard developing his skills on an athletic field and he was one of the fortunate athletes who was able to learn about giving back from the guy who has given back for years, Ted Ginn.
Donte Whitner, the man who wanted to change his name to Hitner, has given back ever since he made it into the NFL. Whitner and others like Ted Ginn Jr., who have been blessed with enough athletic abilities to take their games to the pro level, have been buying tennis shoes for the Glenville basketball team for years.
I had the pleasure of discussing Whitner’s return to Cleveland with coach Michael Holt, the head coach of the Tarblooders for years. Both Whitner and Ginn Jr. learned valuable lessons about giving back to the community they grew up in from guys like Ginn Sr. and coach Michael Holt.
They taught guys like Whitner right. He is not only the hardest hitting safety in the NFL, but he also is one of the hardest supporters of giving kids a chance that ever came out of the Glenville area. Whitner’s return to Cleveland is more than exciting for the people who watched him grow, as a man and as a professional football player.
It’s a chance for the Hitner to be reunited with the heart, he has always left in East Cleveland.
Filed under: NFL- National Football League