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Belichick: Amendola’s block was a legal play


during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.


Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter of Saturday’s 27-20 win over the Chiefs after he stepped out of the way of a punt and leveled Chiefs cornerback Jamell Fleming with a big block that saw him make contact with Fleming’s head.

After the game, Fleming called it a “calculated” shot from Amendola, who said he’ll appeal any fine from the league for the hit.

“I thought it was a clean hit,” Amendola said, via the Boston Globe. “We’re coached to do that. It’s a big play if I block that guy and the ball bounces into the end zone and we get the ball on the 20. It’s a big play for field position.”

Amendola’s feeling about the play was backed up by Patriots coach Bill Belichick on a Sunday morning conference call.

“Saw him trying to block the guy trying to down the ball,” Belichick said, via “It’s hard to tell from the coaching film where the hit occurred. It was a legal play. We’re allowed to block him. [Amendola] didn’t give a fair catch signal so he’s allowed to block.”

The NFL rules define a kickoff or punt returner trying to field a kick in the air as a defenseless player, but there are no specific protections written into the rules for players on the kicking team. Unneccesary roughness can be called when a player throws himself into an opponent who “should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead” as well as when a player uses any part of the “helmet or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.”