New Patriots receiver Danny Amendola is used to following in Wes Welker’s footsteps.
Welker was a sophomore at Texas Tech when Amendola committed to the Red Raiders, and now the St. Louis Rams free agent will have to replace one of the NFL’s most prolific pass-catchers in New England.
“I’ve been hearing (the comparisons) for a long time,” Amendola said in a conference call with New England reporters on Friday. “We went to the same college and I’ve been watching him play for a long time. He’s a great player, he’s been to a lot of Pro Bowls and he’s done a lot of great things to help the Patriots win. One of my main goals is to fulfill my role and try to do what I can to help the Patriots win as well.”
Also Friday, the Patriots signed former Buffalo Bills receiver Donald Jones, who has 82 receptions for 887 yards and six touchdowns in his career. And they saw running back Danny Woodhead, their second-leading rusher with 301 yards and four touchdowns, sign with the San Diego Chargers.
On Thursday, New England also signed running back-kick returner Leon Washington away from Seattle.
Welker was Tom Brady’s favorite target during his stay in New England, with at least 100 receptions in five of the six years — including an AFC-leading 118 last season. But a year after tagging him as their franchise player, the Patriots allowed Welker to walk as a free agent and he signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos.
The five-time Pro Bowl selection was introduced to the Denver media on Thursday in a news conference attended by Hall of Famer John Elway and coach John Fox. Amendola finalized his five-year, $31 million deal with New England the same day and he held a conference call with Boston-area reporters on Friday.