New Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola nearly died during NFL game
The Detroit Lions have filled their hole at slot receiver by signing Danny Amendola to a one-year deal.
Here are some facts to know about the new Lions wideout:
Long road to stardom
The 33-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas, and former All-Big 12 player at Texas Tech was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Cowboys in 2008. He became one of the stars of "Hard Knocks," the HBO docu-series that follow the training camp of an NFL team.
Amendola was cut, but then brought back on Dallas' practice squad.
He didn't see game action until 2009 with the Rams and instantly contributed.
In a 2012 game with the Rams, Amendola suffered a dislocated clavicle while diving for a pass against the Cardinals. But the bone popped inward and "came millimeters from puncturing his trachea and aorta, which would have probably killed him," according to the Los Angeles Times.
To remedy the situation, the Rams medical staff actually put Amendola to sleep before popping the bone back in place.
The Patriot Way
This signing won't do much in the way of erasing the New England pipeline for the team ran by and coached by Bill Belichick disciples. Amendola enjoyed the most success in his career with New England, where he played from 2013-2017.
Amendola was signed almost immediately after the Pats lost fellow slot receiver Wes Welker to the Broncos.
During his time in New England, he collected a little more than half of his career receiving yards (2,383) and more than half of his career touchdowns (12). He was also a main cog in the Patriots' offense that won the Super Bowl in 2015 and 2017.
Some believed Amendola would stay in New England, but last offseason he told ESPN the Patriots' offer was well short of what he was being offered elsewhere.
Taking his talents to South Beach
Last offseason, Amendola was a free agent a signed a two-year, $12-million deal with the Dolphins. He was Miami's leading receiver with 59 catches for 575 yards but just one touchdown.
When the Dolphins hired former New England defensive play caller Brian Flores, one would have thought Amendola was stick around, but Miami cut ties with the receiver.
Just for kicks
Amendola isn't just the classic slot/possession receiver. He has extensive experience returning kicks and punts. Though he does not have a return for a touchdown in his career, he has 185 punt returns and 152 kick returns over his 10 years in the NFL. He averages 9.5 yards per punt return in his career, though he averaged just over 5 yards on 11 returns last season in Miami.
Learned from Brady
Amendola appears to be in an on-again, off-again romantic relationship with former Miss Universe and current supermodel Olivia Culpo.
According to People magazine, the couple were spotted together ringing in the New Year in Miami. Things apparently cooled between them when Amendola was reportedly getting close with Miami journalist Bianca Peters last fall.
Amendola and Culpo made it Instagram-official (which, of course, is all that matters) back in February 2016.
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