CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked for a loss in the second quarter by Jonathan Fanene #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Former Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene bolted Cincinnati soon after receiving a phone call from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, quickly signing a $12 million deal over three seasons. Fanene left Cincinnati as one of the team's better pass rushers and versatile players, playing as much defensive end as he did defensive tackle during obvious passing downs.
When asked about the comparisons between the Patriots organization and the one he left in the dust nearly two months ago, Fanene said:
"There's a lot," he said, "but I'm just going to pick out one thing. I see guys focus more. Not just the workouts but everything we do out here is more like a team effort. So guys really welcome me inside the locker room. It's not about all the talking and the media stuff, it's more like hard working and just do your job."
Interesting perspective, considering all we've heard about recently is lockerroom stability and unity, a drastic change over the years from a chaos led by egomaniacs for a time. Maybe he's just talking nice to the New England media, needing something to say while capturing a well-talked about talking point about the Patriots. Hey, he has to give them something, right?
During his first four seasons with the Bengals, Fanene only generated one quarterback sack in 37 games played. It wasn't until Antwan Odom's Achilles injury in 2009 that Fanene started to make a significant impact. Though he was injured in 2010, playing only two games, the former Bengals defensive lineman rebounded with a career-high 6.5 quarterback sacks in 2011.