Ben Margot/ap file photoKhalil Mack (52)

NFL looking into Brooks’ hit on Brees

The NFL is looking into 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ controversial hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in Sunday’s game for possible discipline, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Brooks was flagged for a personal foul for hitting Brees in the neck area, though many have argued it was a clean hit, including ESPN NFL analyst Ray Lewis who offered to pay half of Brooks’ fine if he is given one. The penalty overturned the sack and fumble on the play and the Saints maintained possession, eventually hitting the game-tying field goal on the drive.

“It’s very frustrating,” Brooks said after the game Sunday. “The game could have gone in a totally different direction,” he said.”

The league came to the officials’ defense of the call on Tuesday, as vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said it was the only call to make.

“You can’t make forcible contact to the head or the neck area, even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up,” Blandino said on the NFL Network.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday seemed to indicated he thought it was a clean hit.

“I thought Ahmad hit at the right level, hit at the shoulder level,” Harbaugh said. “The quarterback kind of shrunk down and that’s the official’s call to make. I’m going to see it the way I see it and that’s going to be a slanted view. I really don’t know much more to say about that.”

Name change on hold: Niners safety Donte Whitner made national headlines earlier this season when he announced he going to change his last name to “Hitner.” But apparently that change will have to wait until at least after the season. “I had to withdraw the name change until after the season,” Whitner tweeted on Tuesday. “Judge wouldn’t allow it without me being present…”

Lattimore to practice: Rookie running back Marcus Lattimore is cleared to practice with the 49ers for the next 21 days, though the team still doesn’t plan on playing him this season, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area reported. Lattimore tore his ACL, PCL and LCL while playing for South Carolina 13 months ago. He is expected to be placed on injured reserve at the end of 21 days, but the 49ers are hoping some practice time now will help his development.

Ahmad BrooksDrew BreesNFLSan Francisco 49ers

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