- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Patriots President Jonathan Kraft appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub for a pre-game interview prior to the team's Friday night contest against the Buccaneers.
During the interview, Kraft was asked to shed light on the recent release of veteran defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, whose release was designated as a "Failure to Disclose a Physical Condition" transaction. Fanene signed a three-year free agent contract this offseason that included a $3.85 million signing bonus, $2.5 million of which was paid up front.
Kraft's explanation is as follows:
"We signed Jonathan in the spring here, I guess late winter. And with anybody when they join your team, we give them a bunch of entrance sort of questionnaires. Think about when you go to your doctor's office for the first time, and you have to fill out a bunch of questions, there's a ton of things related to physical condition, medications you're taking, a bunch of different things. And when you're done filling it out and this is before you get your physical, because there are just some things that aren't going to come up in even a thorough physical. So the idea is you need to disclose everything that is going on with your personal situation and then you sign it, and its a legal document. And if somebody isn't completely up front with everything that's going on there and eventually that leads to them not being able to perform, you have a situation where it's probably best to part ways. And the NFL, just in the last week or two, created a new designation which is released I think is failure to disclose, or failure to disclose conditions, something like that. And I think this situation falls into that category. And it's one thing if a player comes in, performs as he asked to do and develops a serious injury in the line of duty, that happens all the time, and you see your obligation through. But in cases where somebody may not have been completely accurate up front, I think it leads to a different situation, and this probably falls into that category more than the other one."
In a follow-up question, the radio host alluded to the situation as a rarity in the NFL, and asked Kraft, "Would you say its more of an isolated situation where you had a player not being truthful?"
Said Kraft in response:
"You said it, I'm going to reserve my words, but I think there is a level here of implied trust and honesty in any transaction in the NFL. Because when player safety, which clearly has come to the forefront, and rightfully so over the last couple of years, in order to treat a player properly, you need full disclosure of anything that's going on with them physically or mentally, and if they're taking any type of prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, supplements. There was a situation with another player on our team a couple of years ago where if we had known about a certain prescription drug he was taking, which he was fully entitled to be doing because it was prescribed by a doctor, we would have filed the right paperwork with the league. We weren't able to do that, because it wasn't disclosed. The player's a great guy, he was a rookie, he just didn't know, and we obviously dealt with a suspension cause of that. But with a veteran player, if there are things to disclose, you'd like to think that they would be up front and do it so they could get the proper care and advice from the team."
Fanene is currently dealing with issues in one of his knees.