The team announced late this afternoon that the cornerback would not attend Super Bowl Opening Night due to an undisclosed illness.
Butler was one of a handful of Patriots players scheduled to speak with reporters tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Quarterback Tom Brady, along with offensive players Danny Amedola, James White, Matthew Slater, and Brandin Cooks, are each expected to have podiums tonight. Center David Andrews and safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon are also scheduled to speak individually with the media.
Butler will be replaced by defensive back Patrick Chung, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
The #Patriots originally planned for CB Malcolm Butler to have an interview riser for SBII Opening Night. But I’m told he’s battling an illness. So he’s been replaced by DB Patrick Chung.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2018
Rob Gronkowski was also not expected to attend Opening Night, as the tight end has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol since being taken out of the AFC Championship Game last Sunday.
The media extravaganza kicks off at 8:10pm tonight, with the Patriots addressing reporters first, followed by the Eagles at 9:10pm.