“I want to be hopeful,” Whitner said, per Cleveland.com. “But knowing him as a personal friend, having our conversations, I don’t think that he’s too hopeful that he’s going to be back. So we’ll see where it goes. There’s still a lot of time till free agency, till you have to put the tag on guys and so on and so on. But from our personal conversations, I really don’t [think he will be back]. But hopefully that can change.”
A Cleveland.com report last week said Gipson “expects to move on” from the Browns. The Browns aren’t expected to use the franchise or transition tags on any of their pending free agents before Tuesday’s deadline.
The free agent market officially opens on March 9.
Gipson, 25, was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014, when he finished with six interceptions in 11 games. He had two interceptions in 13 games last season. He and Whitner have started together the last two seasons.
“Just knowing what he can do on the football field when he’s healthy, when he’s in the right situation how he likes to go and attack the football, how he attacks his work every day, still being a young safety and being able to produce in this league, and still having a lot to learn, I think it will be a blow,” Whitner said. “But that’s what this league is about. Sometimes you lose players, you have to develop players, sometimes you have to bring guys in, free agency, so I really don’t know the plan, but me personally, I do think it would be a blow.”