Jonathan Fanene, who recently signed a one-year deal to re-join the club, and will be practicing for the first time on Tuesday night. Fanene is a versatile, high-motor player, almost always around the football when healthy, shifting between defensive end to defensive tackle, depending on the offensive formation and situation. The Bengals use Frostee Rucker and Carlos Dunlap in a similar capacity.
Fanene's also a feel good story for the Bengals. Currently one of the senior members of the team, Fanene is a former-seventh round pick by the Bengals back in 2003. He has always scratched and clawed his way for a roster spot here, barely hanging on in some years.
Keeping him around paid dividends for the team two seasons ago when Fanene posted six quarterback sacks substituting the injured Antwan Odom and almost single-handedly beating the Detroit Lions. The Lions were a far inferior opponent to the Bengals in 2009, but the team started the game with a lackluster performance. Fanene intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass that he returned for a touchdown, turning the tide for the Bengals as they went on to beat the Lions. He was also very active against the Pittsburgh Steelers that year, contributing to the two wins against the division rivals.
However 2010 was a much different story for Fanene. He only played in two games last year due to a hamstring injury and was eventually placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. Injuries have been somewhat of a problem for Fanene over the years and has been one of the reasons that he's never cracked into starting lineup based solely on his merits; all of which likely led to a lack of interest in him this year during free agency.
On a related note, in case you didn't read it here at Cincy Jungle on Monday (and shame on you if you didn't), defensive end Carlos Dunlap and running back Bernard Scott returned to the practice field Monday night after battling some injuries. Dunlap had a knee issue and Scott had some hamstring tightness. Both players missed the preseason opener last Friday night against the Detroit Lions and their presence was missed on their respective sides of the ball.
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