FOXBORO, Mass. — As a near lock to make the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster, Danny Amendola has the luxury of treating this preseason as a warm-up rather than an audition.
The 29-year-old wide receiver wasn’t always so lucky, however. Entering the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2008, Amendola began each of his first two professional seasons on the practice squad, first with the Dallas Cowboys and then with the Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn’t until early in his sophomore campaign that the St. Louis Rams snatched him up and made him an NFL regular.
So, as Week 1 nears and teams continue to trim their rosters, Amendola knows what some of his less established teammates are going through.
“(It was) nerve-wracking sometimes,” Amendola said before Tuesday’s practice at Gillette Stadium. “But you just focus on the stuff that you can control, and everything will pan out from there.”
Players on the roster bubble, he says, should be entirely focused on putting themselves in the best position to land a job — be it in New England or elsewhere.
“Just worry about what you can control,” Amendola said. “You can control being on time, knowing the playbook. And try to put your best football on film — not only for your coaches for the opportunity to play for the team that you’re on, but for other teams to possibly pick you up. Every day, every opportunity, every rep out there on that field is a job opportunity. That’s the way you’ve got to take it.”
The Patriots have until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to reach the 53-man limit.
Amendola made his preseason debut last Friday, catching one pass for 25 yards in a 17-16 win over the Carolina Panthers. As one would expect, he can’t wait for the regular season to begin.
“(Preaseason) is a great opportunity for anyone either fighting for a job, trying to get film out there in the preseason, (but) there’s nothing like playing regular-season football, for sure,” Amendola said. “Getting to opening day, and the role on your team kind of starting to carve out. That’s what everybody’s excited (about).”
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Danny Amendola looks on during the Patriots' third preseason game.