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1st Rounder, Whitner Signs

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1st Rounder, Whitner Signs

Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:36 pm


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Rookie safety Donte Whitner signed with the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, joining the team after the No. 8 draft pick missed the first eight days of training camp.

The former Ohio State star had been the top drafted player still unsigned and only one of three first-round selections not under contract.

Whitner was seeking a five-year contract that included about $14 million guaranteed. The Bills as recently as Wednesday were offering him $12.9 million guaranteed over five years. Talks had stalled last week, with Bills general manager Marv Levy saying Friday the two sides were at "a stalemate."

Whitner arrived at training camp site in suburban Rochester, but not in time to practice. He is expected to be on the field Monday -- the Bills have Sunday off.

The Bills had projected Whitner as their opening-day starter. He now has plenty of catching up to do after missing 14 practices. The Bills have expressed concerns that Whitner has missed valuable time learning the defense and bonding with teammates.

His development already has been delayed because he missed all but two of Buffalo's spring minicamps because of Ohio State's relatively late exam schedule. Whitner spent last week working out at Ohio State and noted he was studying the Bills' playbook.

Believing a deal was close, Whitner had traveled to the Rochester area before the start of camp July 26. But he returned to Ohio a day later after negotiations stalled.

He is a hard hitter who finished third among the Buckeyes with 73 tackles, adding four sacks and two interceptions as a junior last season. He helped Ohio State rank fifth in the nation in defense, allowing 281 yards a game and 15 points last season.
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