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After years of taking a pay cut, wide receiver Danny Amendola expected more from the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick this offseason in free agency.
But he never got an offer from the Patriots that came close to the competition. And that prompted his departure to the Miami Dolphins, where he signed a two-year, $12 million contract that includes $8.25 million in bonuses and guarantees.
“I came in with an open mind. I understand Bill [Belichick] runs a tight ship, and he hasn’t been known to pay his players, really,” Amendola told ESPN. “I understood that I gave money back to him so I could play for him and play for my teammates and fulfill my side of the contract, and at the end of the day, I had faith that he was going to give me an opportunity to stay.
“When free agency broke, I came to the realization that he 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.”
Amendola spent five years of his career with the Patriots, becoming a weapon in the slot when healthy. Over 69 regular-season games, he caught 230 passes for 2,383 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the playoffs, he hauled in in 57 passes for 709 yards (348 in 2017) and six (two in 2017) touchdowns.
He spoke to ESPN at the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
The 32-year-old called Belichick “the best coach to ever coach the game,” but did not sugarcoat what it was like to play for him.
“It’s not easy, that’s for sure. He’s an (expletive) sometimes,” Amendola said. “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.”
Belichick’s benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was also a topic of discussion in the interview, with Amendola saying, “Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win.”
“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,” Amendola said. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know why. I did ask, but I didn’t get any answers.”
Now, Amendola will try to help be part of the answer in Miami in forming chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill — or possibly a new quarterback through the draft.
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