Danny Amendola has had one of the most interesting journeys of a Patriots wide receiver. Despite not easily fitting into a Wes Welker-replacement box early on, Amendola emerged with clutch catch after clutch catch, cementing his place amongst Patriot legends. But in 2017, with Julian Edelman going down in the preseason with a torn ACL, Amendola is on pace for a career year and is only adding to his already legendary status.
In 2013 the Patriots let Wes Welker walk to Denver and signed Amendola to a five-year, $30 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Instantly fans wondered if Amendola would be able to replace Welker’s 100 catches per year. Welker was Tom Brady‘s most reliable target for the previous five seasons and the wide receiver turnover in 2013 was worrisome. Amendola had missed 20 games in the previous two seasons and when fans smell someone who might be “injury prone” it’s hard for them to contain their groans.
Amendola instantly showed his clutch gene in his first game, the season opener in Buffalo that saw the Patriots down down 21-20 as they got the ball back for one more drive. Amendola would have four catches on the drive, including an acrobatic 10-yard catch on third-and-eight just outside of field goal range. The Pats kicked the field goal and won the game. But Amendola was injured in the game and would miss the next four weeks, giving the injury-haters plenty of fodder.