A few days have passed now since former New England Patriot, Danny Amendola, signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins. One things for sure, he doesn’t leave New England without massive amounts of gratitude from fans and from the organization themselves. Danny Amendola was and still is exactly what the definition of the Patriot way meant.
A guy who came into the league undrafted, worked for everything he had and then was released time and time again, battled injuries and then one of his last stops was to get scooped up by Bill Belichick and company and turned into a two time Super Bowl champion. In his time in New England he took three separate pay cuts in the prime of his career to continue to play with a team that he thrived with.
The NFL has always proven to be a business first and friendships second league. As Tuesday afternoon came and went the New England Patriots and Danny Amendola found out just how true that was.
In 2013, Danny Amendola found his way to New England. His job? Replacing one of, if not the best slot receiver(s) of all-time in Wes Welker.
What’s funny is in the greater Boston area there isn’t a transition period for athletes. There’s no time for them to get settled in. A player is expected to produce and Amendola had a bumpy start with the New England Patriots.
What’s even funnier is the guy that replaced Wes Welker wasn’t Amendola, it was Julian Edelman. The same guy that has grown so close to Danny Amendola and is undoubtedly his best friend to this day.
Amendola never let minor setbacks at the very beginning keep him from succeeding in New England. He just settled into a role that wasn’t exactly what Patriot fans painted him to be. Instead, he carved out his role and went to work.
There are few words to describe just how clutch a 5-foot-11 slot receiver can be. So let me bounce some statistics off of you instead.
Amendola had never reached the playoffs before coming to New England. In his 13 playoff games in five seasons, Amendola had 57 catches on 81 targets.
He racked up 709 total receiving yards in those 13 games, giving him a 55 yard average per game and a 12.44 yard per catch average. In the 2017 postseason alone, he accounted for 348 receiving yards, (49.1 percent of his total playoff receiving yards), picking up the slack for injured teammates Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell.
He also accounted for six touchdowns and 35 first downs made all by himself in that five year playoff span. The point is Danny Amendola got better when the game got tougher. He constantly made big play after big play for a Patriots offense that needed him.
He was reliable and trustworthy, and when Tom Brady needed a reception over the middle of the field, Amendola was there, calmly shaking countless defenders off him.
What the Future holds:
There is no doubt in my mind that Danny Amendola will thrive in his new role with the Miami Dolphins. Now that he can help compliment a guy like DeVante Parker, his new role could be even more of a fit for him than a crowded wide receiving core he leaves behind in New England.
The truth is, Amendola is one of the players that you never want to see walk out the door. He is an excellent personality and a hard worker who has cared about winning more than money his entire career. As maybe his last payday has come and gone, it makes the most sense for Amendola to take his last contract and go down to the warmth and out of the frigid Foxboro winters.
One things for sure, ‘Dola leaves a hole in Patriots fans hearts as he walks out. Regardless of what the future holds and what the end of Danny Amendola’s career looks like, he will always be remembered in New England for his receiving and passing touchdowns and his incredible playoff performances.
He will be remembered for his toe tapping touchdown to beat the Jaguars in the 2018 AFC Championship and his bubble screen goal line grab to score the two point conversion that effectively brought the Patriots all the way back to even the score in SuperBowl LI. He made most of his memories in the post season just like it should be. I mean come on, he is playoff ‘Dola.
Featured image from USA Today.
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