Aiming to be the next Chad Ochocinco, 49ers safety Donte Whitner announced he was legally changing his last name to Hitner. But according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the paperwork cannot be completed because of the government shutdown. In fact, it may take a few weeks before the name change and thus a lot longer before new NFL jerseys can be sold. Perhaps this waiting period will allow Whitner to reflect on his momentous decision.
Yes, the name Hitner will emphasize his willingness to deliver bone-shattering hits. But as Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal notes, "We sympathize with defensive players as they are put in a very difficult position when it comes to avoiding hits to the head. For hard-hitting safeties like Whitner, some mistakes are going to happen. The idea is to limit those illegal hits as much as possible. Limiting the hits will limit the fines. Changing his name to Hitner only will put a larger target on Whitner's back."
Hitner also seems awfully close to another name, doesn't it? I mean, you wouldn't exactly want the crowd to develop a cheer like, "Heil Hitner!"