Danny Amendola’s ESPN interview offers candid thoughts on Patriots and Belichick

New England Patriots, NFL Free Agency

Asked about his time in New England and his former coach, Danny Amendola offered candid responses.

After five seasons, 3,000 receiving yards, three Super Bowls, and two rings in New England, veteran wide receiver, Danny Amendola, opted not to resign with the Patriots this offseason. He instead chose to continue his career in Miami, agreeing to a two-year deal with the Dolphins during the NFL’s free agency period last month.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Amendola explained his decision to join the Dolphins, discussed his thoughts on things that transpired during his time in New England, and opened up on being part of the Patriots organization.

Most notably, he spoke about playing under head coach, Bill Belichick:

It’s not easy, that’s for sure. He’s an a–hole sometimes. There were a lot of things I didn’t like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn’t like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him. I didn’t like practicing in the snow, I didn’t like practicing in the rain, but that was going to make us a better football team and that was going to make me a better football player.

Speaking about free agency and the decision to sign with the Dolphins, Amendola said that he’d voluntarily taken a pay cut for three years and expected the Patriots to give him an opportunity to stay. When the time came though, their offer didn’t come close to several he’d seen from other teams leading him not to resign.

“I came to the realization that [Belichick] wasn’t going to really come close to any of the other offers I had,” Amendola said. “I had to make a decision for my family and go down to Miami and continue my career there.”

The contract Amendola inked with the Dolphins is worth $12 million over two years and included $8.25 million in bonuses and guarantees.

He also talked about the Patriots’ recent Super Bowl loss, admitting that it still stings, and that it hurt to see teammate Malcolm Butler benched for the game with no explanation:

I have my thoughts about it because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn’t on the field. To tell you the truth, I don’t know why. I did ask, but I didn’t get any answers. I can’t make decisions like that, so I don’t necessarily worry about it, but I know Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win. For whatever reason, he wasn’t out there. He’s going to play more football in his career, and he’s going to be a great player for a long time.

Amendola went on to say that he thought the decision to bench Butler hurt not just the team’s chances of winning but also hurt his teammates saying that Butler was “a brother of ours” and “a guy who worked so hard throughout the season”.

The article also talks about how Amendola called Belichick “the best coach to ever coach the game” while speaking to a crowd during a recent Relay for Life event in Massachusetts.

It closes by quoting the 32-year-old wide receiver on what he expects out of next year, playing for a new team for the first time since 2012:

I’m really excited just to share my knowledge in that respect, be a good teammate, whatever they ask me to do, and trying to catch as many balls as possible… It’s a great opportunity to make new friendships and explore other football avenues. I’m really excited to continue to play.

Overall, the article may not have told us a ton we didn’t know or think about Belichick. The guy that cuts the sleeves off his sweatshirts to spite the NFL’s uniform code and mumbles two-word non-answers at reporters is kind of an a**hole and difficult to play for? Not exactly shocking.

But even if this wasn’t an earth-shattering revelation, this kind of candor from someone inside the Patriots organization isn’t something we’ve gotten much of over the last 18 seasons. You often have to wonder what players think of Belichick and how they feel about decisions like the one to bench Butler for the Super Bowl but typically, mum is the word. Rumors and leaks float out but it’s tough to separate fact from speculation.

The interview with Amendola, on the other hand, was actually honest, candid, and pretty refreshing to hear. He didn’t take shots or didn’t say anything overtly negative, but gave real answers and showed the conflict that players feel between respecting a great coach and at times being frustrated by certain actions or decisions.

As fans, this is all we want out of players in interviews.

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