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New England Patriots Allowed To Go After Jonathan Fanene's Signing Bonus

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Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end may be forced to give his signing bonus back to the New England Patriots, ruled a Collective Bargaining Agreement Appeals Panel.

John Grieshop

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Jonathan Fanene quickly departed when the New England Patriots called, offering him a three-year deal, which he obviously accepted. Unfortunately he was released after missing 13 consecutive practices during training camp with a knee, which required surgery. New England cited a failure to disclose the injury when he signed; required to initiate procedures to recover the signing bonus.

Per a Collective Bargaining Agreement Appeals Panel ruling this week, the New England Patriots are allowed to recover $2.5 million of Fanene's $3.85 million signing bonus; the remaining $1.35 million wouldn't be paid until March 2013, which he didn't receive anyway.

But it wasn't just that. Per Greg A. Bedard from the Boston Globe.

According to the documents, the Patriots are alleging that Fanene, on his physical questionnaire, "falsely concealed his dependency on prescription drugs in order to play effectively." They're going to have to prove that Fanene was self medicating for his arthritic left knee without the team's knowledge. That may be difficult.

Rapoport continues:

In one memo which I obtained, Senior Vice President of Labor Litigation & Policy Dennis Curran stated, "Accordingly, if the Club prevails at the merits hearing, it may be able to recover some or all of the signing bonus paid to the player as a remedy for the player having made material misrepresentations in the course of negotiating the Player Contract."

Fanene has made one appearance, a late-October workout for the Tennessee Titans, since being released by New England.