FOXBORO, Mass. — Player safety was a popular topic of discussion in the New England Patriots’ locker room Monday, one day after Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict took down Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett with a low hit that could result in supplemental discipline.
“It happens,” wide receiver Danny Amendola said, echoing comments Bennett shared after Sunday’s 35-17 Patriots win. “When defensive players are out of position or trying to make a play on a receiver or a tight end when they’re not looking is where it gets kind of dangerous. But it’s why we play. We know what’s going on.”
In Amendola’s mind, that “we knew what we were getting into” mantra applies to concussions, as well. He noted the NFL’s efforts in recent years to eliminate head-to-head hits but said he hasn’t altered the way he plays.
“(My mindset) hasn’t really changed,” Amendola said. “I’ve gotten a few concussions in my time, but I’m not going to change the way I play, personally. Guys don’t change. It’s a rough game, we know it. We know what we signed up for. Just like if you’re a UFC fighter or something like that, you know what you signed up for. That’s the way it goes.”
He added: “It’s a rough game. You’re going to get hit no matter what. Personally, I like playing physical, so it doesn’t bother me much. But we definitely want to limit head-to-head contact, I guess. The league’s always been cracking down on that the past three or four years, so I guess the refs are going to call what they’re going to call.”
Burfict’s questionable hit came during a chippy fourth quarter that featured three 15-yard penalties (one for a facemask, one for taunting and one for unnecessary roughness) and plenty of after-the-whistle squabbling.
“I don’t have any control over how frustrated the other team gets,” Amendola said. “It got chippy out there (Sunday), but we knew that. We knew going into the game it was going to get chippy. It doesn’t really bother us too much. We know it’s a pretty physical game.”
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images