FOXBORO, Mass. — Defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene has adjusted easily to New England, mostly because his dedicated work ethic jives with everything the Patriots do at Gillette Stadium.
He's also gotten some help from wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, who was with Fanene in Cincinnati for six seasons.
"I talked to him a little bit last week," Fanene said Tuesday. "He's just trying to put me on the game, let me know what's going on out here. This is not Cincinnati. This is not a rookie-league team that you should play. This is real business now. I'm trying to get my two feet in and work."
Fanene smiled as soon as Ochocinco's name was mentioned. What was up with that?
"Ocho is a good guy, a good leader," Fanene said. "When I came into Cincinnati, he really took me under his arm and taught me the game out there."
Ochocinco's on-field struggles in 2011 were well-documented, but the consensus is he's been a strong worker behind the scenes, even if it hasn't translated to an understanding of the offense. Fanene's comments offer a parallel to that same idea.
And as someone loyal to Ochocinco, Fanene believes the wide receiver will get it back together this season.
When asked if he was surprised Ochocinco struggled so badly, Fanene responded, "I'll be honest, yeah. I really didn't hear a lot of his name last year on any of the games. I believe there's a reason why. He came in right in the middle of training camp and tried to learn the system, tried to get used to the culture out here. I believe he's going to come back hard this year, do his job and do the best he can do to help the team."
It remains to be seen how much Ochocinco can or will help between the lines, but he has already been an asset during the Patriots' offseason workouts.