Rogers, Wojo and Niyo offer their final thoughts on the Lions' 2019 draft class. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — It was around this time last year when HBO announced the Cleveland Browns would be featured on "Hard Knocks," the network's reality show that provides a behind-the-scenes look during training camp.
The Detroit Lions are one of five franchises eligible to appear on the program this year and the team's brass is hoping beyond hope to dodge that bullet. But some of the players aren't nearly as concerned.
Especially wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has been on the show before.
"I can only worry about what I can control. If we get 'Hard Knocks,' I can't control that," he said. "If we make moves or if we get traded, whatever. All I can control is what I can control. That's what I worry about, being on time, working out, being in shape, knowing the playbook, being a good teammate. That's it."
Not only was Amendola on the show as a member of the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, his story as an undersized, undrafted free agent was heavily featured that year.
That included harsh criticism from the coaching staff, including then-offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, as well as Amendola being cut after a less-than-stellar showing in his first preseason.
Things obviously worked out OK for the 10-year veteran. He spent his rookie year on the Cowboys practice squad, before landing with the St. Louis Rams, where his career began in earnest. He now has 485 receptions to his name, including 20 touchdowns.
But those early months in the NFL continue to fuel him.
"Every year (around draft time), I think back to college, when I was coming out, what I had to go through, the steps I had to make," he said. "I still play with that chip on shoulder to this day and I always will. That’s something that will stick with me."
In returning to Detroit, Amendola is not only reunited with coach Matt Patricia after the two spent five years together in New England, but also with a familiar offensive scheme. The system being implemented by new coordinator Darrell Bevell shares plenty of similarities with the one Amendola played in during his time in St. Louis.
"I feel confident in the offense," Amendola said. "I’ve been in an offense similar to this one for a number of years in my past, so I’m familiar with the verbiage."
Amendola, who turns 34 in November, had his most-productive season playing for the Rams. In 2010, he second year with the team, he caught a career-high 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns, while also serving as the full-time kickoff and punt returner.