Malcolm Butler explained his theory behind why he was benched for Super Bowl LII.
Former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald he has not spoken with New England coach Bill Belichick since the team left Minnesota after he was benched in Super Bowl LII and he has never been given a reason for the decision.
Butler, who reportedly agreed to sign with the Titans on a five-year, $61 million deal with $30 million guaranteed on Tuesday, did not play a single defensive snap in the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Eagles in the Super Bowl, after playing in almost 98 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season and all of the defensive snaps in New England's first two playoff games.
It was reported Butler was benched due to "a perfect storm of issues," including allegedly missing curfew because he was at a concert and because he was sick and had a bad week of practice leading up to the game. Butler however, refuted those reports.
The All-Pro corner told Howe that in order to get over the benching, he just "had to keep moving," accept the past cannot be changed and keep his confidence high by keeping in mind that he always knew he "had a bright future ahead."
When it comes to his theory on the benching itself, Butler told Howe:
I never got a reason. I feel like this was the reason: I got kind of sick. I went to the hospital. They probably thought I was kind of late on the game plan; I wasn’t as locked in as I should be and could have been a matchup deal. It could have been anything. But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time. He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX (against the Seahawks) and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision. It didn’t work out right (against the Eagles). It didn’t work out the best for me or him or the New England Patriots. But I can say he won more than he lost, so it is what it is. I always have love for New England, Bill Belichick, Mr. Kraft, all those guys. Life just goes on.
Butler also told Howe that despite the sour ending to his time with the Patriots, he still has plenty of love for Belichick, team owner Robert Kraft, all of his former teammates, the organization as a whole, and especially the fans.
He added that he had multiple phone calls with quarterback Tom Brady since the situation and he really appreciated hearing from him. When Butler initially denied the reports behind his benching, multiple players liked and commented on his Instagram post denying the reports, including Brady.
Last month, Patriots safety Devin McCourty explained that members on the team knew in advance that Butler would not start in the Super Bowl.
Butler has played in all 16 games each of the last three seasons and has eight career interceptions.