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Whitner Makes Pro Bowl Debut as Starter

Posted by Taylor Price on December 26, 2012 – 6:14 PM

For the first time since 2005, a safety tandem from the same team has been named as starters for the NFC.

Safety Donte Whitner, a first-time Pro Bowler, joins teammate Dashon Goldson, as this year’s NFC safety tandem.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Whitner, a seven-year veteran who was previously honored as an alternate for the Buffalo Bills and again on last year’s 49ers team.

Whitner didn’t lose much sleep over being looked over for the six other seasons of his professional, but did let it be known that getting the nod in his seventh year was a solid accomplishment

“Actually making it,” Whitner began, “actually being recognized by your coaches, players and peers… it feels great.”

It was hard to deny the hard-hitting 49ers safety from this year’s All-Star team.

Whitner ranks fourth on the 49ers defense with 112 tackles to go along with a career-high two forced fumbles, one interception and five pass breakups.

Not only was the 49ers strong safety pleased to be honored, it made it even sweeter to be selected along with Goldson.

“I think he deserves it,” Whitner explained. “We take pride in our game. We take pride in our preparation… People around the league recognized it. I believe nobody is more deserving than being a starting free safety in the Pro Bowl than he does.

“He makes my job a lot easier and I’m sure I make his a lot easier, too.”

Whitner thanked the 49ers coaching staff for helping him make the Pro Bowl. He was also classy in acknowledging coaches, teammates and personnel members of the Buffalo Bills who helped the early stages of his professional career which began as the No. 8 overall pick in 2008.

“I give a lot of thanks to those guys,” Whitner said of his former colleagues with the Bills. “When you make it to the Pro Bowl, you never make it by yourself a lot of people help you get there.”

Whitner concluded his conference call by explaining the goals that are still left on the table for the 49ers.

“We’ve reached a couple of them already, win this week and we’ll reach another one as NFC West champions,” Whitner said.

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