- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Danny Amendola had a good chuckle when he was asked if he was ever concerned that quarterback Tom Brady wouldn’t be able to play in New England’s playoff opener.

“Oh, no,” the Patriots receiver laughed on Wednesday as the defending Super Bowl champions used their bye week to get better and get ready for their Jan. 16 playoff game against Cincinnati, Kansas City or Houston. “He’s a tough guy, the ultimate competitor.”

Three days after 320-pound Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh fell on his right leg, Brady said that he is “feeling better than I was a couple of days ago.”

Although he was favoring the leg after the game, a 20-10 loss, he appeared to be walking without a limp on Wednesday.

“This is the first time we’ve had off in quite a while,” Brady said. “A lot of guys have been fighting through different kind of bumps and bruises over the course of the season, so you try and take advantage of that. … We’re going to need everybody a week from Saturday to be at their very best.”

Only once in his career has Brady missed games because of injury: In 2008, when he sustained a season-ending injury in the first quarter of the first game. Brady was also knocked out of the AFC title game in 2001, but returned to lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory.

“He’s the toughest guy. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s going to be out there,” Amendola said. “He’s been around for a long time, playing really good football. He plays really good football and he’ll bring it out of us, too.”

Brady limped around on the sideline after Suh, who had been pulled down by his helmet, landed on the back of the quarterback’s legs on Sunday. Although Brady returned to the game, he left in the fourth quarter for backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

“I read a cool quote the other day. It said ‘I didn’t come this far to only come this far,’” Brady said. “So we’ve still got further to go.”

Other Patriots are also using the week to recover.

Amendola is coming back from a knee injury that kept him out of a pair of games. Fellow receiver Julian Edelman is hoping to come back after missing seven games in the regular season with a broken foot.

Offensive lineman Sebastien Vollmer and linebacker Dont’a Hightower are also healing.

And coach Bill Belichick walked through the locker room on Wednesday with an ace bandage and what appeared to be a heating pad wrapped around his torso.

“Well, I mean, look: That’s football,” Belichick said of the injuries.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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