He did so after Owens asked him to vouch for him in regards to any questions NFL front office folks might have about whether or not he is a good player to have in a locker room full of players getting ready to go to the 2011 NFL playoffs.
Since the 49ers released Braylon Edwards after their Week 16 victory there have been many fans wondering about whether or not the team should sign Owens in his stead. The likelihood of this actually coming into fruition is slim, but apparently Whitner would support this move.
The question I have for you is this: Would you support this move?
Owens, after all, did start his Hall of Fame career here in the city by the bay, and his return could elevate the 49ers paltry red-zone numbers just when the team needs the help the most.
He's also been somewhat of a cancer/distraction in the locker room of a few NFL teams, namely the 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys before seeming to turn a corner in his last couple of stops with the Buffalo Bills (where he played with Whitner) and the Cincinnati Bengals.
I have no doubts about the sincere desire Owens has to contribute in a meaningful way to a playoff contender. I also have no doubts about his desire to stay out of trouble with the media.
Owens would also fit into the mold of what the 49ers try to do on offense and has been involved in West-Coast offenses in the past with the 49ers and with the Eagles. His big body would be a welcome target for Alex Smith in the passing game.
The things that worry me, though, aren't small.
Owens, like Ted Ginn and Vernon Davis, is known for having a bad case of the "dropsies" from time to time, and the last thing the 49ers need is another unreliable target.
Additionally, Owens has never been known as a receiver that will dedicate himself to run-blocking. In fact, he has been known to take plays off when he knows he's not getting the ball.
The 49ers thrive on a power running attack that puts the onus on wide receivers to put just as much effort and will into their run-blocking as they put into their route-running and concentration on passing plays.
Owens could be a good addition to the team as a short-term band aid, but I don't see the 49ers having any interest at all in acquiring his services. I expect the team to promote either Joe Hastings or John Matthews from the practice squad to fill the immediate need.
What do you think? Should the 49ers consider adding Owens, or should they promote from within?