Why Danny Amendola returning to Patriots was never going to happen

Anyone who thought the New England Patriots and Danny Amendola were destined to reunite must have forgotten what the receiver said about Bill Belichick.

With all due respect to all those people who were clamoring for the New England Patriots and Danny Amendola to link up again — and if you were one of them, I’m sorry — but what was everybody thinking?

Did everyone suddenly just forget the way things ended the first time between the Patriots and Amendola? With Amendola feeling unappreciated and completely undervalued by the team, to the point where he ended up slapping Bill Belichick with labels like “a principal” and “an a–hole?”

Amendola has reportedly agreed to terms on a new one-year deal that will keep him with ex-Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in Detroit. He is fresh off logging the second-highest receiving total of his career this past regular season, and he now enters his second season as a Lion — and his third season overall since he left the Patriots.

Never forget that despite Amendola’s lengthy injury history and penchant for disappearing at times during the regular season, there’s no way New England makes it to three Super Bowls in four years and wins two of those titles without Danny “Playoff” Amendola.

Some of Amendola’s most memorable highlights as a Patriot:

  • Catching Julian Edelman’s touchdown in the comeback Divisional round victory over the Baltimore Ravens in 2014
  • Catching a touchdown pass in the comeback Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks in 2014
  • Catching a touchdown pass in the historic comeback Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in 2016
  • Catching two touchdown passes and racking up 84 yards en route to winning AFC Championship Game MVP in 2017 over the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Leading all Patriots in receiving yards (152 yards) in the Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017

All of this, and New England decided Amendola wasn’t worth what the Miami Dolphins were offering him in free agency during the spring of 2018.

“I came in with an open mind,” Amendola said of that negotiation period, per CBS Sports’ John Breech. “I understand Bill [Belichick] runs a tight ship… 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. I had to make a decision for my family and go down to Miami and continue my career there.”

Amendola spoke quite openly about his preference of getting to play for who he called “a player’s coach” in Adam Gase that summer, as opposed to Bill Belichick, who he referred to as “a principal,” per CBS Sports’ Will Brinson.

“It’s almost like Coach Gase is one of the guys, one of the boys, and you want to fight hard for your boys,” Amendola said at the time. “And back in New England, it’s like you’ve got a principal in a principal’s office and s— like that. In a good way and a bad way too. Much respect to all the coaches who have given me the opportunity to play for their team.”

Amendola even took his criticism of Belichick’s methods a step further during an interview with ESPN’s Mike Reiss. In the video segment, Amendola offered up some of the most scathing, critical words he’d said yet about his former coach.

Here’s what he said exactly, courtesy of NBC Sports Boston:

“It’s not easy (playing for Belichick), 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. 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. The silver lining was that we were at the ring ceremony.”

Granted, Belichick has shown his ability to bury the hatchet with certain players who he deemed expendable and then later brought back — the most notable example coming just this past season, of course, when the Patriots brought back Jamie Collins.

But given everything Amendola has said about playing for Belichick — and given the fact that he already made it clear in signing with Miami and then with Detroit that he now prioritizes money over winning titles — why on earth did anyone think he’d be back in Foxborough this spring?