By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS)– For quite some time, the situation for players in New England was simple: Yes, you will work extremely hard. Yes, you’ll make less money. Yes, you’ll practice and play in some harsh conditions. But it will all be worth it in the end, because you will be a champion.

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It was that type of operation that led to countless veterans choosing New England as a destination. Danny Amendola knows that all too well.

Amendola signed as a free agent in 2013 on a significant deal (five years, $28.5 million). He took a big pay cut in 2016, and another in 2017, in order to continue working with Tom Brady. The team won two Super Bowls and reached another one during his tenure.

So, Amendola knows the mentality that has been shared by many veteran players over the years within the Patriots’ dynastic run. Thus, when Amendola says that such an attitude is unlikely to carry on now without Brady in the mix, it carries a whole lot of weight.

That’s precisely what Amendola said Monday morning. As a guest on FS1’s “First Things First,” Amendola was asked if Bill Belichick will have a tougher time getting players to buy in to the so-called “Patriot Way” going forward. Amendola’s response was direct.

“When you see ‘Patriot Way’ in the dictionary, it’s gonna have Tom Brady’s name next to it,” Amendola said. “None of those coaches threw any passes, none of those coaches caught any passes, none of those coaches made any tackles. They get guys in the right position because they watch a lot of film and they spend all their time at the facility.”

Amendola’s conclusion was a bit more biting.

“Tom Brady is the Patriot Way,” Amendola insisted. “And that’s the reason why Tom Brady’s in the Super Bowl right now and the Patriots aren’t.”

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A comment like that is sure to get some hearts pumping a few BPMs faster down in Foxboro, no doubt.

Amendola, of course, has had a few things to say about his former team since leaving as a free agent in 2018. Amendola said that he respected Belichick and considered him to be the greatest coach of all time, while still referring to him as a not-so-nice term.

“He’s an a–h— sometimes,” Amendola told a crowd in 2018. “There were a lot of things I didn’t like about playing for him, but I must say, the things I didn’t like were all in regards to getting the team better, and I respected him.”

He also referred to Belichick as a “principal” in another interview, while questioning the coach’s agenda for benching Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII.

“In hindsight, it’s like, ‘Really, what agenda are we on?’ It’s something that I will probably never really understand,” Amendola said of that Butler benching. “I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn’t on the field.”

Last winter, some informed speculation saw reports surface that Brady might have been looking to rejoin forces with Amendola, a trusty receiver during their time together. At that point, some lingering bad blood from the Patriots’ side of matters came to light.

That reunion never happened, with Brady signing with the Buccaneers and Amendola getting a $4.5 million deal from the Lions.

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Still, the love and appreciation Amendola has for Brady clearly remains as fierce as ever. And his feelings toward the Patriots’ coaches — namely, the coach — doesn’t appear to have changed much either.