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Danny Amendola on Malcolm Butler's Super Bowl LII benching: It hurt, and no one got an explanation

Ryan Hannable
April 14, 2018 - 7:31 am

Danny Amendola returned to New England on Friday to speak at an American Cancer Society's "Relay For Life" event at Merrimack College, a cause close to Amendola's heart as his aunt died of breast cancer.

ESPN's Mike Reiss rode to the event with him and was able to catch up with him on a number of topics.

The topic still on the minds of Patriots fans is Malcolm Butler's benching in Super Bowl LII, as no real reason has still been given. According to Amendola, he asked but wasn't given a reason.

"I have my thoughts about it because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn't on the field," Amendola said to Reiss. "To tell you the truth, I don't know why. I did ask, but I didn't get any answers. I can't make decisions like that, so I don't necessarily worry about it, but I know Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win. For whatever reason, he wasn't out there. He's going to play more football in his career, and he's going to be a great player for a long time."

The wide out was asked if the decision hurt his teammates not to have Butler on the field that night?

"Yeah, I did, honestly," he said. "Nobody really got an explanation for it. He's a brother of ours. He was a brother of ours that year. And I hate to see a guy who worked so hard throughout the season not get a chance to play in the biggest game of the year and really get no explanation for it. With that said, I don't know how the business aspect went into that decision. I don't know how the personal aspect went into that decision between him and Bill [Belichick]. But as a friend, I would have loved to see him on the field that day."

This offseason, Amendola signed a reported two-year, $12 million deal with the Dolphins which included over $8 million guaranteed. He noted the Patriots weren't going to come close to that.

"I came in with an open mind. I understand Bill [Belichick] runs a tight ship, and he hasn't been known to pay his players, really. I understood that I gave money back to him so I could play for him and play for my teammates and fulfill my side of the contract, and at the end of the day, I had faith that he was going to give me an opportunity to stay," he said. "When free agency broke, I came to the realization that he wasn't going to really come close to any of the other offers I had. I had to make a decision for my family and go down to Miami and continue my career there."

The 32-year-old spent five seasons in New England playing for Belichick and he said how tough it is to play for him, but winning always seemed to make it worth it.

"It's not easy, that's for sure. He's an [expletive] sometimes," Amendola said. "There were a lot of things I didn't like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn't like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him. I didn't like practicing in the snow, I didn't like practicing in the rain, but that was going to make us a better football team and that was going to make me a better football player. It wasn't easy, and he'd be the first to admit, at the [Super Bowl] ring ceremony, that it wasn't easy playing for him. The silver lining was that we were at the ring ceremony."

Amendola will now face his former team twice, as the Dolphins are in the AFC East.

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