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Amendolla pinballs into the record books.

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  • Amendolla pinballs into the record books.

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    The Rams were just two games into the season and they found themselves banged up at receiver and looking for someone to inject life into a sagging return game.

    In Danny Amendola, they hoped to find an answer for at least one of those questions. What they might not have expected was a cure for the ailing return unit and a surprise contributor to the offense. In Amendola, they found both.

    “Danny has been great,” special teams coach Tom McMahon said. “Danny has toughness, and that’s the biggest quality that I see in him. And, he’s a pro, he always spends extra time, and the guys see that, and they block harder for him. When you’ve got a guy who is putting in extra time, the other guys perform harder.”

    Since signing with the team on Sept. 22, Amendola has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2009 season. For a team that has repeatedly gone to the well in search of someone who can stick, Amendola has perhaps been the most consistent contributor to the team on a weekly basis.

    “Personally, I was just trying to come in and fill a role and do what I do to help the team in any which way,” Amendola said. “It’s been fun getting in there.”

    Upon his signing, Amendola’s foremost job was to help on special teams where he was immediately plugged in as the starting kickoff and punt returner.

    After bouncing around some from Philadelphia’s practice squad this season and the same role in Dallas the year before, Amendola made his NFL regular season debut on Sept. 27 against Green Bay.

    Amendola went right to work, returning eight kickoffs in his debut for 187 yards. The eight returns were tied for the most in franchise history. He also returned a pair of punts for 23 yards. All in all, not a bad first day of work.

    Since, Amendola has made a statement about his ability to return kicks in the NFL. IN last week’s game against Houston, Amendola five kicks for 159 yards. In the process, he set the Rams season mark for return yards at 1,435 yards. That bests the previous mark of 1,379 yards held by Tony Horne from 2000.

    This week, four kick returns for Amendola would push him past Drew Hill for the most returns in a season by a Ram.

    Impressive numbers sure, but ones that Amendola doesn’t spend much time worrying about.

    “I didn’t even know that,” Amendola said. “That’s great I guess. At the end of the day, I just want to get more wins. That’s all I can really say.”

    The always humble Amendola joins some pretty impressive company among players that have held the return duties in Rams history. Although the past few years haven’t provided much in the way of spark in the return game, there is a long line of guys who have done it and done it well in team history.

    Horne, Az-Zahir Hakim, Hill and Dante Hall are among the most accomplished returners in team history. While Hall was near the end of his illustrious career when he got to St. Louis, Amendola knows him well and considers it an honor to follow Hall’s footsteps.

    “I remember growing up watching Dante Hall,” Amendola said. “He’s a Houston guy. My dad actually coached him in high school so I had been around him before I got here. He was a guy I always looked up to. His football abilities were really great. He was the Human Joystick, that’s what they called him. He was incredible. Just to be mentioned with some of those guys is crazy.”

    Make no mistake; Amendola’s contributions haven’t been limited to special teams, either. In that game against the Texans, he broke off a 55-yard kick return that was buoyed by a facemask penalty to give the Rams field position at Houston’s 25.

    It was only fitting then, that Amendola was rewarded for his efforts by catching his first NFL touchdown, a 2-yard strike from Keith Null that put the Rams up 10-6.

    Really, the only thing missing for Amendola has been the return for a touchdown, though he’s been close on a number of occasions.

    “He has been real close, and he’ll get his day,” McMahon said. “It’s a game of inches, they say it and it is the truth. If Danny keeps working, hopefully those things will come in bunches for him. In my opinion, he deserves that. He works hard.”

    Although he’s a bit undersized, Amendola has showed a knack for catching almost anything thrown his way and for using his speed underneath to make plays from the slot and pick up first downs.

    For the season, Amendola has 34 catches for 270 yards with the touchdown. Now with his first season under his belt, he remains confident he’s only going to continue to get better from here.

    “I definitely do,” Amendola said. “I think you have to think that or you are not going to be able to. Having gained that experience and going into the offseason knowing what to expect, it’s easier for the second year. That’s why guys in their second year are more successful.”

    Aside from the obvious contributions, it’s the little things that Amendola does that has endeared him to his teammates.

    Many times, when a punt has been booted too deep and he has no intention of returning it, Amendola will be quick to step up and lay a good lick on the gunners coming down the sideline, thus preventing them from getting there in time to keep the ball from traveling into the end zone.

    It’s something Amendola learned in college at Texas Tech and just one example of the things Amendola does to stay aggressive and help the Rams on Sundays.

    And it’s that aggressiveness that has helped Amendola stay healthy despite his 5’11, 186-pound stature.

    “For me, I don’t even worry about it. I just play as hard as I can,” Amendola said. “I was always told you play as hard as you can and you won’t get injured as much as if you are coasting around and not aware of your surrounding and half butting it around. That’s when you get hurt is what I was told so I try to stay out of that situation as much as possible.”

    Amendola’s ability to stay healthy has been but one reason he’s contributed all season. But it hasn’t been easy. He has taken plenty of hard hits this season, including a monster collision in Detroit that left him woozy.

    If nothing else, though it hasn’t earned him a nickname as cool as the ‘Human Joystick,’ it’s been enough to earn him a similar moniker from his teammates.

    “Some guys call me the Human Pinball,” Amendola said, laughing.
    I really like this guy, hope he has a lot of years with the rams.

  • #2
    Re: Amendolla pinballs into the record books.

    In no way do I say this to bash Danny, I think he is one of our few bright spots, but the record of most returns in a season isn't so much a good thing for a returner, but a bad thing for us giving up a lot of scores. Either way, hope he takes one, or more, to the house in these last 2 games!


    • #3
      Re: Amendolla pinballs into the record books.

      Originally posted by GolfnRAMFAN View Post
      In no way do I say this to bash Danny, I think he is one of our few bright spots, but the record of most returns in a season isn't so much a good thing for a returner, but a bad thing for us giving up a lot of scores. Either way, hope he takes one, or more, to the house in these last 2 games!
      Exactly. It just shows that our defense can't stop them from getting to the endzone.

      However, I like Danny. I hope he stays on our team. He finally got a touchdown. Well deserved may I add.


      Related Topics


      • r8rh8rmike
        No Slowing Amendola Now That He's Healthy
        by r8rh8rmike
        No slowing Amendola now that he's healthy

        BY DAN O'NEILL
        August 17, 2012

        Isaac Newton's first law of physics says a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Danny Amendola offers corroborating evidence.

        The Rams receiver is, if nothing else, a body in motion, a veritable fruit fly on a football field. But after establishing his energetic presence with the Rams in 2010, the Texas Tech product was acted upon by an outside force. During the 2011 season-opening loss to the Eagles, Amendola suffered an injury that materialized as a dislocated left elbow. The body in motion came to rest for the remaining 15 games of the season.

        For Amendola, it was cruel and unusual punishment, like closing the gate on a thoroughbred as the rest of the horses galloped down the track. Sunday, almost a year later, Amendola played two series and caught one pass for 6 yards in an exhibition loss at Indianapolis.

        The performance was short on action but long on symbolic value. The body is back in motion.

        "It had been a while since I had been out there competing," Amendola, 26, said. "It was good to get back out there, good to get tackled, good to hit someone again. ... It was fun."

        If you know anything about Amendola, you know he thrives on the three C's — contact, competition and camaraderie. Injuries and idleness were not on his bucket list.

        The elbow problem, which he aggravated by trying to practice, "was kind of a freak injury and there's nothing I could do about it," Amendola said. "I understand injuries are part of the game and things like that happen, but ...

        "I'm good now. It was a bad injury but it's not anything that lingers or is threatening. I'm 100 percent."

        Amendola is probably the only receiver in Rams camp who has his ticket punched. Perhaps generously listed at 5 feet 11, 188 pounds, the Mighty Mite emerged as a go-to guy for rookie quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010. Amendola caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns, and 29 of those receptions came on third downs.

        He also is important to the Rams' special teams, an Allstate kick returner whose good hands were sorely missed. Amendola led the NFL in combined kick and punt return attempts in 2009 and 2010. And while Martha White is the one all-purpose flour, Amendola is the one all-purpose receiver. His 2,364 all-purpose yards led the league in 2010.

        Like his fellow campers, the perpetual motion pass catcher is learning the language and schemes of new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. It shouldn't be too difficult for Amendola to forget what he learned from the departed Josh McDaniels' program — he hardly had a chance to use it. Regardless, nimble No. 16 likes the makeover.

        "It's a tough offense to get,"...
        -08-18-2012, 10:26 AM
      • Rambos
        Amendola Embraces Leadership Role
        by Rambos
        Nick Wagoner

        Although he is entering just his fourth full NFL season with the Rams, Danny Amendola at the age of 26 has already become the de facto grizzled veteran of a mostly young and inexperienced receiver corps.

        In fact, of the 10 receivers the Rams have on their current roster, Amendola is the second oldest, only about six months behind Steve Smith and the next closest wideout in terms of age is Brandon Gibson, who is almost two full years younger.

        So as the Rams transition into another new offensive system under coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and continue to develop with a young crew of wideouts, the onus falls on Amendola, along with receivers coach Ray Sherman, to help his young teammates realize their potential.

        It’s a role that Amendola has embraced, not that he has much say in the matter.

        “That’s just the role as a veteran you are automatically kind of slotted into that, I guess,” Amendola said. “The fact that you know, whether it’s questions about where to live, how to turn the computers on, where do I get my car washed or just stuff relative to life in St. Louis, to be a rookie and a new guy here is a learning process. I’m willing to help any way I can.”

        To think that Amendola has become the veritable leader amongst players in the wide receiver meeting rooms is no surprise considering the work ethic and ability he brings to the table on a daily basis.

        What is surprising, though, is that in many ways Amendola is still learning the finite details of the game himself and only a few years ago was fighting simply to salvage a spot on a NFL roster, let alone a practice squad.

        Coming out of Texas Tech in 2008, Amendola bounced between Dallas (where he first learned under Sherman) and Philadelphia, spending his time on each team’s practice squad before the Rams signed him to their active roster on Sept. 22, 2009.

        Since then, Amendola’s career has been on a decided upward trajectory. In just three years, he’s gone from the fringe of the NFL to valuable receiver and positional leader.

        That journey has been an interesting one but Amendola knows better than most that if he stops to take time and think how far he’s come, he could find himself right back where he began.

        “At the end of the day, when my career is over I will look back and look at that stuff but right now honestly I am just trying to get this playbook down,” Amendola said. “I don’t even know what I’m going to eat for lunch. I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. At the end of the day, I’ll look back but not right now.”

        Right now, Amendola has much bigger fish to fry. In Schottenheimer’s offense, Amendola’s role has expanded greatly from the more simple description of “slot” receiver that he’s been saddled with since his arrival in St. Louis.

        Amendola has proved more than capable of playing...
        -08-15-2012, 05:03 PM
      • MauiRam
        Small in stature, Amendola coming up big for Rams ..
        by MauiRam
        BY BILL COATS • Friday, October 8, 2010

        Asked to describe Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola in one word, running back Steven Jackson replied, "Feisty."

        "Electric," said wideout Mark Clayton.

        "Quick," said fullback Mike Karney.

        "Tenacious," said wideout Brandon Gibson.

        "Energetic," said quarterback Sam Bradford.

        "Special," said wideout Laurent Robinson.

        "Competitive," said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

        Amendola laughed when asked to portray himself in one word. "What did the others say?" he asked before finally settling on "effort."

        All are apt adjectives for Amendola, who although he's listed at 5 feet 11 and 186 pounds admitted that he's actually 5-10 and 180. He's the Rams' second-leading receiver, with 21 catches for 208 yards, heading into Sunday's game at Detroit.

        Still, one more word is needed to complete the Amendola outline: "tough."

        "You know what, that's probably the word I would've picked before 'quick,' how tough he is," Karney said. "He'll take some big hits out there. The guy's got a lot of guts."

        Robinson called Amendola "the toughest little guy I've seen. Doesn't care about anything. Just one tough guy."

        Added coach Steve Spagnuolo: "He's off the charts there, in everything he does. ... Walking in the hallway, he looks tough."

        Always 'a handful'

        Willie Amendola chuckled at the various depictions of the youngest of his two sons. "He's been like that since the day he was born, believe me," he said. "He was a handful when he was little."

        Growing up in The Woodlands, a suburb of Houston, Danny was what his father termed a "tag-along kind of guy." Brother Matt was 5 years older, and Danny constantly was in competition with bigger boys.

        "He learned to defend himself," Willie Amendola said.

        Or as Weldon Willig, who coached both Amendola brothers at The Woodlands High, put it, "Younger brothers get to be tougher, because they have the hell beat out of them every day as they're growing up."

        Willie Amendola is the head football coach and athletics director at Dekaney High in Houston. After a long day at practice, he faced the daunting challenge of putting young Danny down for the night.

        "Couldn't get him to bed," Willie recalled. "You'd have to chase him around the house, and I couldn't catch him. We used to do what we called race to bed. So wherever he was, 'I'll race you to bed.'

        "One day he leaped from the doorway over the bed and put his head right through the headboard. Didn't blink an eye."

        -10-08-2010, 12:26 AM
      • Fargo Ram Fan
        More on Amendola and his future with the Rams
        by Fargo Ram Fan
        Interestingly timely, considering the previous thread here...on this topic.


        St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola may be headed for 2013 NFL free agency if the Rams cannot figure out his contract situation soon. Things don't look good for the consistently injured playmaker.

        It's not that Amendola won't have an NFL home in 2013—he'll actually likely still be suiting up for the Rams each week.

        The problem for Amendola is that his consistent injury woes will cost him financially in a big way.

        Amendola is an electric talent who is clearly the No. 1 option on the St. Louis passing attack and Sam Bradford's favorite target.

        In 2012 he's only appeared in eight games but has caught 51 passes for 576 yards and two touchdowns. If he had stayed healthy, those numbers would be astronomically higher.

        After breaking his collarbone in Week 5 versus the Arizona Cardinals early this October, Amendola rushed back faster than anyone could have predicted. Quickly after he returned, Amendola ended up suffering a heel injury that placed him in a walking boot.

        Amendola returned from the heel injury on Sunday against Arizona. He only managed to play in seven offensive snaps and was held out of the second half. He's now back in a walking boot and has missed all practices leading up to the Rams' Week 13 showdown with the San Francisco *****.

        This string of injuries is the most recent example why the Rams, or any NFL team for that matter, are reluctant to ever pay Amendola big money. He's extremely productive on the field, but he's rarely on it.

        At 27, Amendola is young and has all the upside to become an elite player. However, in four seasons, he's completed a 16-game schedule just once. There is absolutely no reason for an NFL team to pay him top dollar when taking that fact into consideration.

        While Amendola said he wants to remain in St. Louis and wouldn't mind the franchise tag, the chances he receives the tag are slim. He's making about $2 million this year, which seems about right given his field time.

        Slapping Amendola with the franchise tag would cost the Rams in the neighborhood of $10 million, so of course he wouldn't mind the tag. The sooner Amendola realizes that likely isn't going to happen, the sooner both sides can come to terms on a reasonable deal.

        It's a frustrating situation for players to be in, but the NFL is a business. Had Amendola been healthy, he likely would have flirted with the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career and made himself an indispensable part of the offense in St. Louis.

        At the end of the day, Amendola is going to get paid, and well. It just won't be the big numbers he deserves until he can prove he's shaken...
        -11-29-2012, 08:34 PM
      • Cabo3334
        Danny Amendola
        by Cabo3334
        I believe that his hustle and willingness to drive the ball during kickoff return has been unnoticed. I believe he was one of the underated players of the Rams last season. It may seem im just ranting but I know if I didnt say something, and the Rams would sign T.O. (which they obviously wont now) and word was Amendola was to get cut, I would feel like I didnt do anything to back him up. I know posting this wont help his chances at all, but I can sleep better at night knowing that I tried.
        -07-26-2010, 06:32 PM