Patriots safety Devin McCourty says the rumors around Malcolm Butler's benching are "the furthest thing from the truth."
Patriots safety Devin McCourty told Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com that the rumors around cornerback Malcolm Butler's benching for Super Bowl LII are "the furthest thing from the truth" and that the team "knew he wasn't starting all week."
Butler had played in 97.8 percent of New England's defensive snaps during the regular season and all of the defensive snaps in their first two playoff games, but didn't play any defensive snaps in the team's 41-33 loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
It was reported that Butler's benching for the biggest game of the season was a combination of him being sick, missing curfew because he was at a concert and a poor performance in practice that week. Butler however denied those reports in an Instagram post that was liked by some of the Patriots, including Tom Brady. The Pro Bowl corner said he was with his family during the week and after the game he told Mike Reiss of ESPN the team "gave up" on him.
"We all knew he wasn't starting all week," McCourty told NJ.com. "That wasn't a secret to the guys on the team. I get why people are fishing. The guy played 98 percent of the plays. I just hate that for him character-wise going into free agency. It's just not true. As far as I know—and I was there all week—not one time did anything come up."
McCourty, who has been a captain of Bill Belichick's defense for seven of the eight years he's been in New England, added that Butler is "a great football player" and he will consider him a teammate and friend for life even if he decides to leave the Patriots this offseason.
Butler, 27, has spent all four years of his career with New England. NFL free agency begins March 14.