Lions' Amendola ready for joint practices with former team
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Danny Amendola earned plenty of laughs from the assembled reporters when he was asked after practice what he can learn from his younger teammates.
“How to run fast,” Amendola said before wrapping up his chat with the media Sunday.
The 33-year-old Amendola is entering his 11th NFL season after signing with the Detroit Lions in March. This coming week, the veteran receiver will have a reunion of sorts when the Lions hold joint practices with the Patriots, a team Amendola spent five seasons with from 2013-2017. Then Detroit hosts New England in a preseason game Thursday night — but Amendola seems to be looking more at the big picture, trying to prepare for the season with his new team.
“It’s all work for me,” he said. “It’s all good reps, and I’m going to try to maximize my opportunities.”
A lot has changed for the Lions since this time last year, when Golden Tate was still a top target for quarterback Matthew Stafford. Tate was traded in the middle of last season, but Detroit had receiving depth it could lean on. Kenny Golladay surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in his second season as a pro. Marvin Jones had his 2018 campaign cut short by a knee injury, but he surpassed 1,000 yards two seasons ago.
Amendola has never come all that close to that 1,000-yard milestone, but the 5-foot-11 receiver caught 59 passes for the Miami Dolphins last season. It was the third time in four years he had at least that many receptions.
“Just in general, you got to love Danny Amendola, you got to love everything he brings every single day,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said recently. “He is probably one of the most intense people you are going to talk to.”
That was evident when Amendola was asked what to expect during these joint practices with another NFL team.
“It’s high intensity man. It’s a lot of quality game reps, so we’re excited to get out there,” he said. “Full tilt, all go, all day. Let’s go.”
Patricia came to the Lions from New England. He was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator when Amendola was there. Detroit has brought in a number of ex-Patriots over the past couple years, including defensive lineman Trey Flowers and cornerback Justin Coleman this offseason.
So Amendola has familiarity with his coach and some of his new teammates, but that only means so much.
“I’m taking this as a new experience for me,” he said. “I definitely see some similarities, but at the same time, it’s a new opportunity for everyone, it’s a new opportunity for myself, and a new situation for me to prove myself.”
For the next few days, that means practicing with the Patriots — and then facing them in a preseason game.
“He’s dialed in, he’s focused. He’s like everybody else. He’s got a lot of work to do and improve,” Patricia said. “As far as a person, he’s a football guy. He loves the game, loves being around the guys, loves every aspect of it. All that energy and all that is contagious, and that’s great to be around all the time.”
NOTES: The Lions signed CB Tarvarus McFadden and waived WR Deontez Alexander. They also activated DT Darius Kilgo from the non-football injury list.