Danny Amendola always seems to have his biggest games when the stakes are highest, and the Patriots can thank their upcoming opponent for having at least something to do with that.
Before he ever appeared in an NFL game, Amendola spent some time in Philadelphia on the Eagles’ practice squad. The 32-year-old receiver now has the No. 11 jersey he wore with the Eagles framed in his house, and he uses it as motivation.
“A friend of mine actually found my original practice jersey I had in Philly. I only had one, they put your name on the back and everything, and I guess they were selling it for some reason,” Amendola told reporters Wednesday, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “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. I learned a lot there, but at the end of the day …”
A photo that Amendola tweeted on Christmas Day showed the jersey, but he did not explain the significance of it at the time.
— Danny Amendola (@DannyAmendola) December 26, 2017
Amendola ended up with the St. Louis Rams after the Eagles cut him, and his career took off from there. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who served in the same role with the Rams for a few seasons, convinced Bill Belichick that Amendola was a perfect fit for New England, and here we are.
While the Eagles ended up cutting him, Amendola says he learned a lot from his time in Philly.
“I was very low on the depth chart and learning, but I got some great tutelage from some really good coaches,” he said. “There were a lot of good receivers there, too: Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson. Jeremy Maclin. Hank Baskett. Kevin Curtis was there; a guy I learned a lot from. I still carry those relationships on now with most of those guys.”
Amendola has battled some injuries and isn’t always high on New England’s depth chart, but he’s about as clutch as Tom Brady late in playoff games. There’s a reason they call him “Danny Playoff Amendola,” and he may be even more motivated against his former team in Minneapolis.