CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Michael Johnson # 93 and Jonathan Fanene #68 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate a sack during the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
When the New England Patriots released defensive end Jonathan Fanene, there were rumblings from the Bengals fanbase that they'd like to see the ol' samoan back in the orange and black. Myself included. When healthy he's been a vital defensive player during Cincinnati's previous two playoff runs in 2009 and 2011. But that's the thing, isn't it? His health. Fanene, who was one of Cincinnati's biggest free agent departures during the offseason, reportedly suffers from an arthritic knee which led to his release earlier this week.
According to Greg Bedard with the Boston Globe, Fanene had surgery on Thursday and that it may take 4-8 weeks before he's healthy enough to sign with a new team.
Cincinnati might be interested in Fanene because of his overall versatility and, quite honestly, no one can predict injuries and production at the defensive end position eight weeks from now. Fanene spent seven seasons with the Bengals, really taking off during two of his last three seasons, generating six quarterback sacks in 2009 and another 6.5 in 2011.