FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola agreed to three different pay reductions over the past three offseasons to stay with the team, he explained that he wanted to be in a place where there is a chance to play meaningful games late in the year.
As for what Amendola means to the Patriots, his stellar performance in Saturday’s playoff victory over the Tennessee Titans highlighted it, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels taking it to an even higher level.
“He’s one of the all-time great teammates, no question about it,” McDaniels said on his weekly conference call. “Very unselfish. However big or small you tell him his role is going to be on a week-to-week basis, he embraces that. He prepares really hard. He cares about doing it right. He’s always ready to go, however much you need him or are going to use him, and he’s as competitive as anybody else we have. He plays hard on every single snap and will do anything for the team to help us win.”
Amendola was one of the Patriots’ standout performers on Saturday with a team-high 11 catches for 112 yards, which was his first career 100-yard receiving game in the playoffs. He had entered the day having played in 10 career playoff games, totaling 31 receptions for 361 yards and 4 touchdowns.
It sounded like McDaniels could have talked about Amendola -- whom he first coached in 2011 with the Rams when Amendola missed all but one game of the regular season due to injury -- for days.
“I don’t know that I could give a greater compliment to a player than that, and he always plays big in the big games,” McDaniels said. “So he’s a guy that you trust, that you want in the game, that you can count on and you know you’re always going to get his best effort.
“Like a lot of our guys, he can take himself to another level and try to do a little bit more than maybe what’s done in the past, and he does a great job of preparing hard to be able to do that. It’s a testament to him, how much he cares about his teammates and our team in general, and I love having the guy. It’s a privilege to coach people like him.”