DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions addressed needs on both sides of the ball while reuniting their coach and general manager with former New England Patriots cornerback Justin Coleman and receiver Danny Amendola.
Coleman agreed to a $36 million, four-year contract with the Lions and plans to sign Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke Monday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced.
Coleman began his career with the Patriots in 2015, when Lions coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn worked for the organization. He was a nickel cornerback the past two seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. Coleman has three career interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns.
The Lions signed Amendola to a $5.75 million, one-year contract, taking advantage of his comfort level with men he knew from New England.
“I was around (Patricia) all the time and I just love the enthusiasm he brings to work,” Amendola said.
Amendola said he knew Quinn as well from their time together in New England.
“Very thankful for the opportunity he has given me here to come earn my way on this team,” Amendola said.
Shortly after adding Amendola, the Lions released cornerback Nevin Lawson. Detroit drafted Lawson in the fourth round in 2014 out of Utah State and he started 54 of 62 games without having an interception.
The Lions also cut linebacker Trevor Bates later in the day. He was arraigned last month from a psychiatric ward on charges of punching a New York City police officer after he was taken to a precinct house for failing to pay a taxi fare. Bates pleaded not guilty to charges of assault, resisting arrest, theft of services and obstruction of governmental administration. He played in nine games for the Lions.
Amendola potentially fills the void Detroit has had at slot receiver since it traded Golden Tate last season to the Philadelphia Eagles.
He had 59 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown last season with the Miami Dolphins after playing for New England from 2013-17, when he helped the franchise win two Super Bowls. He was cut by the Dolphins last week, creating $6 million in salary-cap space for the team.
Amendola said he had a few conversations with Miami about returning, and refused to say if going back to New England was one of his options.
“It’s 2019, that’s what I’m focused on,” he said.
Amendola, an undrafted player from Texas Tech, spent his first three years in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams.
The 33-year-old Amendola has 485 career receptions for 4,684 yards with 20 touchdowns and joins Lions receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
“I’m in the best condition of my life,” he said. “I’m as fast as I’ve ever been and I’m hungry as ever. I’m ready to play at a high level and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
And as much as Patricia and Quinn helped to draw Amendola to Detroit, he sounded excited about catching passes from Matthew Stafford.
“He’s a Texas kid, too,” Amendola said. “I’ve been a fan of Matthew for a long time, even before he went to Georgia. He has every throw in the book.”