Wide Receiver Danny Amendola’s Worst On-Field Injury Could’ve Killed Him

Danny Amendola of the Detroit Lions has had a solid career as a wide receiver in the NFL. He’s won two Super Bowls and when he’s able to get on the field, he can be a decent contributor for an effective offense in need of a slot receiver. The knock on Amendola is that he’s injury-prone. The 35-year-old had multiple injuries, but one specifically stood out because it could’ve killed them.

Danny Amendola’s NFL career

According to Pro Football Reference, Amendola’s career started in 2009 with the St. Louis Rams after playing for Texas Tech. He spent four seasons there before moving to New England, where he became a Tom Brady-favorite for five seasons. He spent one season in Miami and has been with Detroit the past two years.

Amendola had big expectations on the Patriots he never quite lived up to. The team hoped he’d move into the slot role Wes Welker held before him. While Amendola was productive with the Pats, he topped out at 65 receptions in a year. He also had some trouble staying healthy (more on that below). 

While Amendola is a tremendous route runner with good hands, that’s not all he does. Amendola’s also a model. In 2017, he signed with Ford Models, according to People. Amendola was the first football player to be signed with the agency after he did several fashion shows. 

Amendola’s role on the Detroit Lions

Amendola’s moving into the twilight of his career with the Lions. He’s now 35 and still reliable if unspectacular. Last season, he had 62 receptions for 678 receiving yards — not bad numbers by any stretch, but hardly the type of production that’s going to help the team move into contention.

In 2020, he’s got 28 receptions through nine games. Amendola’s role on the team is clear: He’s a veteran who can give you solid numbers. But don’t count on him to dominate games. His penchant for getting hurt also makes him hard to depend on. 

Danny Amendola’s injury history

While Amendola has had flashes of brilliance during his NFL career, he also has struggled to stay on the field at times. It’s been a frustrating aspect of the talented wideout’s otherwise solid resume. Here are some many injuries he’s suffered, according to Sports Injury Predictor

  • 2019: Chest/pectorals
  • 2018: Knee strain
  • 2017: Concussion
  • 2016: Sprained ankle
  • 2015: Multiple knee sprains
  • 2013: Concussion/groin tear

That’s not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. While those have all slowed him down in one way or another, there’s one that was worse than all of those. Amendola once had an injury that came very close to being a life or death situation. 

The on-field injury that nearly killed Danny Amendola

The Cardinals' Patrick Peterson breaks up a pass intended for the Rams' Danny Amendola
The Cardinals break up a pass intended for the Rams’ Danny Amendola | Zia Nizami/Belleville News-Democrat/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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Amendola’s had some bad injuries during his career, but one stands out above all the rest. According to the Detroit Free Press, you have to go back eight seasons to 2012 for a game in which Amendola suffered an injury so bad, he nearly died. 

At the time, Amendola was playing for the Rams in a game against the Arizona Cardinals. The athletic Amendola attempted to dive for a pass a bit out of his reach and in doing so, dislocated his clavicle. Rather than moving outward, the bone moved inward and came dangerously close to hitting his trachea and aorta. That likely would have killed the receiver. 

The Rams medical team administered anesthesia, set Amendola’s bone into the correct place, and possibly saved his life.