FOXBORO, Mass. — After five weeks on the shelf, Danny Amendola finally is ready for action.
“I’m good,” the New England Patriots wide receiver said after Thursday’s practice, the Patriots’ last ahead of Saturday night’s divisional-round playoff game against the Houston Texans.
A high ankle sprain suffered during a Week 13 win over the Los Angeles Rams prevented Amendola from playing or practicing over the final four weeks of the regular season. He returned to practice during New England’s first-round bye week, however, and was a full participant Wednesday and Thursday.
Patriots wideout Julian Edelman, Amendola’s teammate since 2013, said he’s glad to have the 31-year-old’s leadership back on the practice field.
“It’s great,” Edelman said. “It’s another weapon. Danny, he’s like a leader on the team. He’s a leader on the team just by example of how he works, how he practices. (He’s a) great teammate, and he’s going to be able to help us. So anytime you see No. 80 out there, you get a little excited.”
It remains to be seen how many snaps No. 80 will play Saturday. The Patriots should have Edelman, Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Floyd all available unless Mitchell’s lingering knee injury sidelines him, and New England has not had five wide receivers (not including special teamer Matthew Slater) active for a game since 2014.
Even if Amendola winds up being the fourth or fifth man on the depth chart, he likely will be the Patriots’ primary punt returner against the Texans if he does indeed return to the lineup.
“We’ve all got a job to do regardless of what your job is or what your role is during the game,” Amendola said. “Special teams, offense, defense — we’re all just focused on whatever our role is, whatever the coaches ask us to do. We’re just concentrated on playing good football.”
Amendola played in 12 games during the regular season, catching 23 passes on 29 targets for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He also handled the bulk of the punt-return duties before his injury, returning 18 punts for 121 yards.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images