In an era where business decisions quite often play a larger factor than performance in the continuation of a player’s career, new Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola learned early this offseason that in spite of laying it all on the line for the New England Patriots, and taking pay cuts for three straight years for the team to be able to stay fiscally prudent, in the end, the team wasn’t looking to reward him for his loyalty.
“I understand Bill [Belichick] runs a tight ship,” says Amendola, “and he hasn't been known to pay his players, really. 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."
But when free agency started, Amendola soon learned that Belichick, who is renowned for that close-fisted financial approach, wasn’t going to make any attempt to match the offers he was receiving from other teams. So he took the Dolphins offer for a 2-year contract worth $12 million, including $8.25 million in guarantees and bonuses.
And in some parting comments for his old team, Amendola will endear himself to Dolphins fans with his thoughts on playing for the Patriots and Belichick.
"It's not easy, that's for sure,” he said of having Belichick for a coach. “He's an a--h--- 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. It wasn't easy, and he'd be the first to admit, at the [Super Bowl] ring ceremony, that it wasn't easy playing for him.”
But the upside is, well, pretty sweet. “The silver lining was that we were at the ring ceremony."
Amendola welcomes his new role with the Dolphins. Head coach Adam Gase is making clear his mark on the team as he attempts to bring about a change of culture, and bringing the 32-year-old wide receiver into the locker room bodes well on that front, adding a savvy veteran who has experienced the pinnacle of NFL success.
"I'm not the oldest guy on the team,” says Amendola. “But I've been around for a while, and I know what it takes to win a championship; I know what it takes to have a successful atmosphere. I'm really excited just to share my knowledge in that respect, be a good teammate, whatever they ask me to do. It's a great opportunity to make new friendships and explore other football avenues. I'm really excited to continue to play."
“And trying to catch as many balls as possible.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball
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