CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Danny Amendola gave fans something they may not have been expecting to see on Friday night.
Playing in the Tom Brady Football Challenge at Harvard Stadium -- the kickoff event of the 17th annual Best Buddies Challenge, which is a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International -- the Patriots wasn't afraid to make a few playsat half speed . He made one leaping grab on a pass floated down the sideline from Brady. At the end of another catch-and-run, Amendola turned around Patriots Hall of Fame linebacker Tedy Bruschi a couple of times before running by him.
Amendola's presence on the field came as somewhat of a surprise after he was one of 17 players who missed last Thursday's OTA session. He reportedly underwent offseason knee and ankle surgeries, but he clearly he felt confident enough in his legs to run around on a Friday night for charity.
At one point, Amendola half-heartedly defended Patriots running back Dion Lewis, who is recuperating from an injury of his own. Lewis had surgery to repair the left ACL he tore on Nov. 8 of last season in a win over the Redskins.
Lewis moved methodically, catching one Brady pass, but hardly ever reaching a gear that would be considered jogging.
"Going well," Lewis said when asked about his rehab Friday. "Just doing whatever I'm allowed to every day. Trying to listen to the trainers and whatever they let me to do, I do it as hard as I can."
Like Amendola, Lewis was also absent from last week's OTA session on Thursday. ESPN's Mike Reiss reported last week that Lewis is "on track" for New England's season-opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 11.
"It's good to be around everybody," Lewis said of being with his teammates at Gillette Stadium. "Just happy to be back. Just working as hard as I can and just taking every day step by step."
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was present on the sidelines for Brady's Best Buddies game but did not play. Wearing a walking boot on his left foot and ankle, he signed autorgraphs and chatted with those on the sidelines.
When asked about his recovery, he sidestepped the question.
"We're not here to talk about that," he said. "We're here to talk about Best Buddies."
Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich and running back James White also played in the game. Former Patriots Dan Koppen and Scott Zolak participated as well.
Among the other well-known participants involved were congressman Joe Kennedy III, governor Charlie Baker, chef Guy Fieri, television personality Maria Menounos and actor Michael Chiklis.