If a return to Gillette Stadium is supposed to make one feel warm and fuzzy, ex-Patriots playoff hero and current Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola missed the memo.
“I’m going to be on the other side of the field,” Amendola, who left the Patriots for a two-year deal in Miami worth $12 million, said when asked about his thoughts on returning to the stadium he called home for five years. “That’s it.”
Given the way it ended in Foxboro, as well as Amendola’s status as perhaps the most outspoken Patriot post-leaving, such a curt answer shouldn’t come as a shock, even if it he followed that up with some praise for the organization.
“Some of the things I learned there I’ll carry with me forever,” the 32-year-old receiver said. “What I’ve learned most is how to prepare for a game, what goes into the weekly routine leading into a game and sticking with that mold.
“I’m just using my preparation skills against them now.”
And even with an obvious appreciation for the two Super Bowl rings that came as a result of his five-year run with New England, it’s clear that there’s still a touch of resentment on Amendola’s behalf when it comes to talking about the Patriots and their operation. He even went as far to say, “Who’s that?” when a reporter asked if he had spoken with Rob (Gronkowski) at all during the week! Rob! Gronkowski! As in your teammate for half a decade!
“Maybe I’ll look at all that stuff after I’m done playing, but right now it’s just all about preparation and getting ready for the game, getting ready for a good opponent, an opponent that plays really hard,” Amendola said when asked to reflect on other Patriot memories. “They’re well coached. I’m just going to continue to prepare this week.”
But his praise for a Patriots team they’re currently two games up on in the AFC East was, of course, countered with overflowing praise for his new team and what he appreciates out of his landing spot.
“I like the way we respond to the early part of the season,” Amendola (either innocently or devilishly) said when asked about what he likes about being a Dolphin. “I like the way we’ve prepared in the early part of the season. I like the attitude that Coach Gase brings to the facility every day and into the game, offensively, on Sunday. That keeps me going every day. I just really like the attitude that everybody in the building brings.
“I don’t have any regrets in my career,” he added. “I’m really happy to be [in Miami]. I’m really happy to be with these guys, with this group, with these coaches, with my teammates and this organization.
“It’s a dream come true to me.”