Without Danny Amendola, the Patriots would likely be watching the Super Bowl on television this Sunday.
After totaling 18 catches for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns during the Patriots’ 2018 playoff run, the prolific Patriots’ wide receiver has been dubbed “Danny Playoff Amendola” by teammate Rob Gronkowski. It seems to be a fitting nickname as Amendola has 49 catches for 554 yards with 6 touchdowns in his playoff career with the Pats.
“When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary his picture is right there beside it,” Belichick said of the 32-year-old. “It doesn’t matter what it is. Fielding punts, third down, big play, red area, onside kick recovery — whatever we need him to do.”
With the Patriots plagued by injuries this year, Amendola has stepped up and really become Tom Brady’s security blanket. This has been a role traditionally filled by the injured Julian Edelman. “I’m always looking for him at some point. I mean, he’s a big part of what we do, so he’s never not part of what we’re doing. He’s a huge part of what we’re doing always,” Brady said of Amendola.
A Little Extra Motivation
This Super Bowl matchup with the Eagles is kind of full circle for Amendola. He spent an early part of his career as a member of the Eagles practice squad. He actually owns a framed Eagles jersey with his name on it as a reminder of where he came from.
“A friend of mine actually found my original practice jersey I had in Philly,” Amendola told ESPN. “I only had one, they put your name on the back and everything, and I guess they were selling it for some reason. He bought it, sent it to me framed and said, ‘Hang this on your wall so you’ll never forget the day they cut you.’ I have it hanging. I’ll never forget that.”
After his stint with the Eagles, Amendola signed to the 54-man roster of the then St. Louis Rams. It was in St Louis that Josh McDaniels, who was the offensive coordinator for the rams at the time, discovered the untapped potential of Amendola. In fact, coach Belichick gives McDaniels all the credit when it came to signing Amendola in the Spring of 2013.
“Really, the light went on with Josh [McDaniels],” Belichick told reporters on Wednesday. “Josh was here. Josh had him in St. Louis and you saw a good player in St. Louis but you didn’t see all the things behind the scenes that you kind of can see when you actually have the player on your team. Josh saw that and he made us aware of all the things that Danny does and how well he does them.”
When asked about his postseason success, Amendola said he’s always brought the same approach. “It’s a lot about preparation, circumstance, opportunity, being ready and no fear,” he said. “Just get out there and get it done.”
–Sam Puran is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. She covers the New England Patriots. Follow her on Twitter @S_Pats21