All Donte Whitner could do Sunday was tip his cap to the Buffalo Bills and their fans.
Whitner, the former first-round pick of the Bills who has become public enemy No. 1 since leaving Buffalo, played a nondescript game for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He finished with six tackles, including one for a loss, in the Bills’ 26-10 victory.
“Pretty loud stadium when you’re the opposition,” Whitner said. “They made more plays than what we made, and that’s why they’re going away with a win.”
The Ralph was filled with chants of “Whit-ner, Whit-ner” in the fourth quarter, as Bills fans made it clear they won’t soon forget his comments over the summer suggesting his former team would be moved to Toronto.
“No really back and forth with me,” said of his interaction with the crowd. “I think it was all fans toward me, I didn’t say anything to them. It’s part of the game, it’s the nature of the National Football League. Fans are passionate. When you have a passionate fan base like this, that’s what you expect. Hat goes off to them with the win.”
Bills running back Fred Jackson responded to Whitner’s comments last week – calling them dumb and referring to Whitner as an idiot. While the two appeared to be jawing at each other on the field, Whitner said after the game “nothing was said.”
“I shook his hand before the game, and nothing was said,” he said. “If that’s how he feels personally, that’s toward him, but I actually like Fred. I have no problems with him. He used his words, he said what he had to say, and then we went out there and played a football game. And that’s that.”
Whitner whiffed on an attempted tackle of Jackson in the third quarter on a 20-yard gain, about the most noteworthy play in which he was involved. Each time his name was announced as a tackler, fans responded with a healthy chorus of boos.
“Me personally, it’s no big deal,” Whitner said. “It’s my third team, so it wasn’t really a big deal for me. It was fun.”
Whitner walked off the field with only compliments for the Bills’ fans.
“You never get a true look at a stadium or the fan base, until you’re actually on the other sideline. It’s a pretty crazy fan base here,” he said. “It’s a tough place to play, you can see. They call it the 12th Man here. … It’s because they’re loud and they’re really into the football game. They really love their team. Hat goes off to their fans.”
Whitner and the rest of the Browns’ defense shouldn’t be faulted for the loss. They held the Bills to just one offensive touchdown, and 2 of 15 on third downs. The Cleveland offense, however, turned the ball over three times.
“We fought,” Whitner said. “We just can’t turn the football over – especially when one goes back for a touchdown. When we get into the red zone, the offense is going to have to get us into the end zone. But it’s a team loss. All of us fight together. We’re not going to overreact to this. We’re going to go back and get ready for next week.
“We feel like we laid it all out there, especially on the defensive side of the football. We made some plays. They made a few more plays than what we made. We understand that we’ve got four football games left. We’re still in the playoff race. We still have some winnable football games, so we’re just going to look forward to the next one.”