Danny Amendola looked as happy as a kid at camp after he had put in a hard day's work – and with work left that he couldn't wait to do.
At the age of 33, Amendola's not a kid by most standards – and certainly not for a wide receiver going into his 10th NFL season and first with the Detroit Lions.
And a day at training camp doesn't compare to building sand castles or any other leisure activity.
Pro football is a hard, demanding business, and Amendola is happy to have it as his chosen profession.
"I love football," Amendola said when someone remarked that he looks like a man who loves his job.
"I love playing football, coming out here. It's training camp. It's tough. It's a challenge. I really embrace that.
"I'm happy to be here."
The Lions are happy to have the combination of production and energy that Amendola brings to their offense.
On the field, he's been a consistent performer throughout his career, with 485 career catches and an average of just under 54 catches a year. He had 61 catches in 2017 for the Patriots and 59 last season for the Dolphins.
The work ethic and high energy level Amendola operates with add to his value. Head coach Matt Patricia experienced that first hand in the five seasons (2013-17) Amendola spent with the Patriots while Patricia was defensive coordinator.
"You've got to love Danny Amendola," Patricia said Friday. "You've got to love everything he brings, every single day.
"He's probably one of the most intense people you're going to talk about. When you're passionate about the game of football, like we all are and like he is, passion breeds passion.
"He's like everybody else. He's got a lot of work to do and improve, but as a person he's a football guy. He loves the game. He loves being around the guys. He loves every aspect of it. All that energy is contagious."
The offense has been remade since Patricia became head coach in 2018 to develop a tougher, more balanced attack that fits the vision of Patricia and GM Bob Quinn.
The bulk of the receiving corps is back from last year, led by Marvin Jones Jr. – returning from an injury that caused him to miss nine games – and Kenny Golladay, a rising star going into his third season.
Amendola and Jermaine Kearse were signed as veteran free agents.
Amendola and Patricia forged a strong connection in their days with the Patriots, but Amendola rejects the notion that familiarity will guarantee him a role in the offense.
"I'm trying to develop a role on this team and expand that role – do whatever I can to help this team win in whatever capacity that is," he said. "That's why I'm here.
"He (Patricia) demands a lot. He expects a lot. He has high expectations. I knew that coming here. He's a great coach. That's why I'm here.
"Familiar, yes. Comfortable – no. Nobody's comfortable here. Everybody's working their tail off. Grinding. Doing extra stuff in the weight room. Conditioning. Trying to improve as football players. Trying to improve as teammates."