FOXBORO, Mass. — Jordan Matthews will wear No. 80 with the New England Patriots, and yes, he knows he has big shoes to fill.
Before Matthews, who signed with the Patriots last week, chose to wear No. 80, he called up Danny Amendola, who wore the number in New England for five seasons before joining the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
“That’s my guy. I met Danny at Sam Bradford’s wedding,” Matthews said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “I talked to Danny about it. He said I could have it. I have a lot of respect for his game. …
“I called him before I got it just to make sure. I know what he did here. I don’t think you have to get a number retired and all that stuff to understand you have respect for what guys do in a place like this. I think they call him Danny Playoff. I think he earned that nickname. I just wanted to make sure like, ‘Hey, is this cool?’ He said it was.”
Matthews was playing with Bradford on the Philadelphia Eagles at the time. Amendola had played with Bradford on the then St. Louis Rams.
Matthews wore No. 87 in college at Vanderbilt and in 2017 with the Buffalo Bills and No. 81 for three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. But No. 80 was the first number he wore growing up playing football as an homage to his cousin, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Matthews was jokingly asked if he thought about making a deal for No. 87, which belongs to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“I think somebody’s wearing that,” Matthews said laughing. “I was like, ‘OK, whoever has it, I can probably fight him,’ but then I heard he was big. So, I won’t worry about it. He can have it.”
How gracious, and smart, of Matthews.
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