Hours after Bill Belichick heaped praise on the now-retired Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty also spoke glowingly about the former Patriots receiver.
“Man, I texted him yesterday when I saw (his retirement),” McCourty said Tuesday during a virtual news conference. “Just told him, ‘One of the toughest players I’ve ever played with.’ “
McCourty, with whom Amendola played five seasons and won two Super Bowls, included an anecdote from training camp in 2013, when five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson was trying to find work at the end of his career.
“I remember (Amendola) first got here, we had Adrian Wilson in training camp that year, and ‘Dola came down and tried to crack (block) him,” a laughing McCourty added. “And it was hilarious. Like, (Wilson) stuck one hand out and kept ‘Dola like a good three feet away from him, and ‘Dola’s head snapped back. And the next time that showed up in practice, he ran in there and did the same thing again like it didn’t happen before.”
Amendola battled numerous injuries throughout his five-year Patriots career, but nevertheless enjoyed five campaigns with more than 50 catches and 600 yards. And he was at his best during the postseason, especially when he racked up 26 catches for 348 yards and two touchdowns in the 2017 playoffs.
“Obviously, for us, his time here, always clutch moments,” McCourty said. “Showed up big. Between him and (Julian Edelman), obviously, their size sticks out. But their effort and toughness to go in there and do the tough things in a football game, no matter what the situation and circumstance was, was so impressive. And I think they inspired guys like me. You know, I loved watching ‘Dola. Obviously, I competed against him. I still remember my rookie year when he was on the Rams and I had no idea who he was, and he killed us in a preseason game in the slot.”
McCourty added: “I think, just those memories, the times shared here, watching him through the years. Sad day to see another one of the old guys hang it up, but obviously had a tremendous career. One of the best teammates you could ask for. Just being able and willing to go out there and give it his all no matter what.”
McCourty likely will have similar things said about him once he hangs up his cleats. The 13th-year pro hasn’t missed a game since 2015 and almost never misses a snap. A two-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, he almost surely will land in the Patriots Hall of Fame.
He and the rest of the Patriots will hold their first training camp practice on Wednesday in Foxboro, Mass.
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