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New England Patriots Links 5/02/12 - Fanene Proud to be an American Samoan Patriot

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<em>49ers QB Alex Smith doesn't seem to want Samoa, as Jonathan Fanene tackles him for a loss</em>.
49ers QB Alex Smith doesn't seem to want Samoa, as Jonathan Fanene tackles him for a loss.

Mark Blaudschun reports it didn't take Jonathan Fanene long to feel he was in the right place at the right time.

“When I first got the call from Bill [Belichick], I was very excited,’’ he said. “I wanted to come here.’’

“I guess they saw a need and felt I could fill it,’’ said the new Patriot with a smile Tuesday after a workout that has been part of his routine since agreeing in March to a three-year, $12 million deal as a free agent. “There’s a lot of good things here. I want to be part of a good thing.’’

“I see guys focused more, and not just the workout, but in everything we do here,’’ he said. “It’s more of a team effort. Guys welcome me inside the locker room. It’s just hard-working, do-the-job type of atmosphere.’’

“They see some things they like on film, so they brought me here for a reason,’’ he said. “So I will just do the best I can. If they tell me to play nose, I will play nose. If they tell me play outside, I will play outside, special teams.’’

Christopher Price fires us up with a description of Nate Ebner's work ethic from Ohio State defensive coordinator Paul Haynes who coached him.

“He’s an unbelievable worker. His work ethic is out of this world. He has a passion to be great, and once he gets his mind stuck on doing something, he’ll do it.”

He walked on at Ohio State, and eventually earned a scholarship. His gonzo style and devil-may-care approach (Pro Football Weekly described him as a player who “races down the field like a bat out of hell and hunts returners like a heat-seeking missile”) earned him the respect and admiration of his teammates.

"He was the most valuable guy we had on the team, besides the quarterback, because he made so many plays for us on special teams that we just came to bank on the fact that he was going to make the play every single time,” Haynes said of the 6-foot, 205-pounder. “We knew that if he was out there on the coverage team, he would make the play. He would make the block to get the guy free. Whatever it took.

“The only reason Nate didn’t play more safety was a little lack of overall football knowledge. But when it comes to playing the game, I’d trust him out there with my life because I know he makes my team better,” Haynes added. “No one was more dedicated. Trust was never an issue -- he was going to get the job done.”