New Lions WR Danny Amendola excited to continue career with Matt Patricia
Danny Amendola’s decision to sign with the Detroit Lions came down to one thing.
“Just my relationship with Coach Patricia,” Amendola said in a conference call on Monday. “The experiences we’ve had together and what we’ve gone through, and just that excitement is mutual. So I’m excited to be here, exited to get started and looking forward to getting to work.”
The Lions made Amendola their first signing of what should be an active free-agent period, inking him Monday to a one-year deal that’s worth up to $5.75 million, including incentives.
The Lions needed a reliable slot receiver to balance out their offense, something they’ve lacked since trading Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles last October, and not wanting to pay top-of-the-market money to younger, more attractive options like Adam Humphries, they moved quickly on Amendola after he was cut by the Miami Dolphins last week.
Amendola, 33, caught 59 passes for 575 yards in his one season in Miami.
He spent the previous five years with the New England Patriots, where Patricia was defensive coordinator and Lions general manager Bob Quinn worked in the front office.
“Just a guy that’s relatable, a guy that’s demanding,” Amendola said of Patricia. “He’s instilled a lot of mental toughness in the guys that play for him, and those are the things that stood out the most. He never really was my coach, so to speak, because he was always on the defensive side of the ball. Obviously, I play offense. But I was around him all the time and I just love the enthusiasm he brings to work. I love the attitude that he comes in the building with every day and I’m excited to continue my career with him.”
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In Detroit, Amendola joins an offense that returns quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones from last season but is undergoing significant changes nonetheless
The Lions hired Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator in January, and plan to add two tight ends and perhaps a new backup running back this offseason in free agency or the draft.
Golladay led the Lions and set career-highs with 70 catches and 1,063 yards receiving last season, while Jones finished the year on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery.
Amendola said he anticipates “a small learning curve” while getting acquainted to a new offense, and though he’s coming off a season in which he averaged just 9.7 yards per catch – his lowest mark since 2014 – he said he anticipates big things for the Lions this fall.
“I feel really good,” Amendola said. “I’m in the best condition in my life. I’m as fast as I’ve ever been and I’m hungry as ever. So I’m ready to play at a high level and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
As for the Dolphins, Amendola said he had “a few conversations” with the organization that hired another ex-Patriots assistant, Brian Flores, as its new head coach, but that he decided “it really wasn’t going to be the best fit for me.”
“But that’s the way this business works,” Amendola said. “I understand that you can’t play football forever, so I wanted to get in ultimately the best spot for me, best spot for my family and continue my career here in Detroit. So I’m very thankful for this opportunity and I’m ready to get going.”