New Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby told SiriusXM NFL Radio Wednesday that he’d like to see his former Browns teammate, safety Donte Whitner, join him in Cincinnati and said he’s tried to recruit Whitner to the Bengals.
At 34, Dansby knew he was too old and too expensive to stick around during the latest Browns revamp, and he picked the Bengals for a chance to play for a contender. Dansby spoke up for Whitner when the Browns released him in April and said Wednesday he’s not sure where Whitner will land.
Whitner turns 31 next month. He almost signed with the Bengals in 2011 before ultimately choosing the 49ers.
The Bengals knew their starting lineup was going to get hit hard by unrestricted free agency. Safety Reggie Nelson eventually departed for the Raiders, but the Bengals re-signed George Iloka before he could hit the open market and believe they’re set at safety with Iloka and Shawn Williams as their starters.
Dansby actually getting his wish of Whitner joining the Bengals seems like a longshot. The Bengals extended Williams last Month and the team likes what it’s seen from Williams in his first three seasons.
Even if the Bengals think Whitner has another solid season left in his legs, they might be hesitant to take reps away from Iloka, 26, and Williams, 25. The Bengals already brought back Taylor Mays to compete for a role as a backup safety and special teams player.
The Browns paid Whitner and Dansby a bunch of money in free agency before the 2014 season — each got around $14 million for two seasons — to serve as leaders for their defense. The Browns went 7-9 in 2014, their best season since 2007, before just about everything went wrong in a 3-13 season last season.
In what was neither a new nor a surprising statement, Dansby also told SiriusXM that Browns players “just shut down” amidst last year’s struggles and that “there was a lot of mess going on” in the organization.