Meet Mr. Hitner.
Called by that name for years out of respect for his hard-hitting defense, San Francisco safety Donte Whitner has filed paperwork in Ohio through his lawyer to formally change his name by removing the 'W' after receiving permission from his mother, Deborah, to do so.
"My last name was Whitner, now it's Hitner," Whitner said Wednesday. "Yeah, it's legal, I'm taking the 'W' off. I asked my mom first, though. She said no in the summer, then she said yes three nights ago. It's pretty cool."
Whitner has been in touch with Nike to determine how many No. 31 Whitner jerseys are still for sale in retail stores and elsewhere and whether he might need to financially contribute to make the switch.
He doesn't seem overly concerned about that small part of the process.
"Depending how many there are," he said. "I haven't really seen that many around Candlestick, unless somebody's hiding them."
The $27 fee for legally changing his name is money well spent, Whitner said.
While he would love to debut his new name for Sunday night's prime-time game at home in Candlestick Park against the Houston Texans, he said it realistically would probably take another week before his new name is on the back of his uniform. That would be Oct. 13 at Arizona.
He first hinted at the name change after learning Tuesday he was being fined $21,000 for his hit on St. Louis Rams' wide receiver Chris Givens in the end zone with just under six minutes to play in last Thursday's 35-11 49ers victory.
Whitner said he would appeal the penalty and has made up T-shirts with "#LegalHitner" on the front that he will sell to drum up support.
Around the league
Seahawks • Linebacker Bruce Irvin, Seattle's first-round pick in 2012, got back on the practice field Wednesday after serving a four-game suspension for using a banned substance.
Jaguars • Receiver Justin Blackmon returned from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Blackmon practiced with the team Wednesday.
Raiders • Quarterback Terrelle Pryor returned to practice and was working with the first team after missing last week's game with a concussion. Matt Flynn, who started for Pryor last Sunday, was demoted to third-team status behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin after he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and took seven sacks, while leading just one scoring drive.
Ravens • Baltimore acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville in exchange for two future picks, reported to be fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2014 draft. Monroe was the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Steelers • Pittsburgh acquired tackle Levi Brown from Arizona for a conditional draft pick. Brown failed to live up to expectations in Arizona after the Cardinals selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Week 5 schedule
Buffalo at Cleveland, 6:25 p.m., NFL
Detroit at Green Bay, 11 a.m.
New Orleans at Chicago, 11 a.m.
Kansas City at Tennessee, 11 a.m.
Jacksonville at St. Louis, 11 a.m.
New England at Cincinnati, 11 a.m., Ch. 2
Seattle at Indianapolis, 11 a.m., Ch. 13
Baltimore at Miami, 11 a.m.
Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants, 11 a.m.
Carolina at Arizona, 2:05 p.m.
Denver at Dallas, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
Houston at San Francisco, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5
San Diego at Oakland, 9:35 p.m.
Open: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
N.Y. Jets at Atlanta, 6:40 p.m., ESPN