It was a fairly routine play at practice back at Texas Tech, when Red Raiders wide receiver Danny Amendola broke free toward the end zone and found himself in clear vision of his quarterback.

But the ball clanged off his hands and hit the grass. No matter, just get it on the next rep, right? Not for the fiery perfectionist like Amendola, who immediately scooped up the ball and punted the thing over a fence and across the street into a parking lot.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach can’t tell the story without breaking into laughter, but he was a bit peeved at the time. Leach understood Amendola’s actions, as the competitive firecracker hated the idea of screwing up, even at practice. But there was no way Leach was going to let one of his equipment managers make the trek to corral the pigskin.

“And full speed, (Amendola) ran into that fence, a 12-foot fence, stuck his foot in it and leaped over the fence, ran and grabbed the ball, threw it back, hopped over the fence full speed,” Leach told the Herald yesterday. “The guy hustles at everything he does. Even if he’s ticked off chasing a ball, it was full speed. It wasn’t a happy full speed, but it was full speed.”

Amendola signed a five-year, $31 million contract with the Patriots on Wednesday. He effectively has become Wes Welker 2.0 for the second time in his football life, and Leach headed the first transition. Welker’s prolific career ended with the Red Raiders after the 2003 season, and Amendola showed up the next year, starting as a freshman just as Welker had done before him.