Donte Whitner is officially now Donte 'Hitner' thanks to a legal name change meant to draw attention to his big-hitting reputation as well as protest the $21,000 fine he received for what he perceived to be a legal hit on Chris Givens last Thursday. Hitner is currently mounting a T-shirt campaign to curry public favor as he appeals the NFL front office.
In the process, Hitner unwittingly set himself up for easy Internet jokes noting the resemblance of his new last name to that of a certain deceased dictator. The decision was a curious one on Hitner's part, but if he wins his appeal perhaps it was worth the effort.
According to a report by Andre Brandt at SI's MMQB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has created an atmosphere of mistrust among his players. Agents of several Bucs players reportedly told Brandt that coaches have been seen regularly strolling through the players' locker room unexpectedly and staffers have been caught videotaping players along the sidelines during losses to document potential horseplay.
Schiano has had a notable falling-out with quarterback Josh Freeman, whom Schiano benched last week in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. Earlier this week, it was leaked to ESPN that Freeman is currently in stage one of the NFL's drug program after failing a drug test when he mixed up his ADHD medication. The source of the leak has been a subject of much debate lately, with some suggesting that Schiano may have had motives to discredit Freeman.
The NFL released a statement recently condemning any violation of confidentiality for any player currently in the league's drug program.
"We do not believe it is appropriate to comment but the confidentiality provision of our drug program is critically important and a breach of that confidentiality by any party is a serious violation of our collectively bargained policy.''
Terrelle Pryor is reportedly no long feeling the symptoms of the concussion that held him out Week 4, and is ready to return as the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders against the San Diego Chargers. Matt Flynn started in place of Pryor last Sunday against the Washington Redskins and struggled mightily.
Flynn was apparently so bad, that Matt McGloin has reportedly passed the once-prized free agent on the depth chart and will be Pryor's primary backup for the late, late game this Sunday.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have acquired Levi Brown from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a conditional draft pick. The Steelers were desperate for help along the offensive line, with Maurkice Pouncey out for the season at center and Mike Adams proving average at left tackle.
Not that Brown had a sterling reputation in Arizona. He was reportedly in danger of losing his starting spot before being traded. The Steelers are one of the few teams with worse problems up front than the Cardinals, however. Brown will hopefully be an upgrade for the sake of Steelers fans.
The Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville announced plans to jointly finance $63 million in stadium renovations to EverBank Field, which will include a pair of new video boards and an additional 7,000 seats. The news should be reassuring to Jaguars fans fretting about relocation rumors.
The team itself will cover $20 million. The city will cover the rest of the tab. The new video boards are projected to measure 55 feet by 301 feet.