Devin McCourty said in a new interview that the Patriots knew throughout the week leading up to Super Bowl LII that Malcolm Butler wasn't going to start in the game.
Speaking to Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com, McCourty shot down the rumors that came out about Butler possibly being benched for disciplinary reasons. He also denied that Bill Belichick's decision to sit Butler for all of the team's defensive snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles did not come as a surprise.
"As far as I know, all of that is the furthest thing from the truth," said McCourty. "We all knew he wasn't starting all week. 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."
"That Wasn't A Secret"
McCourty's comments about the benching run counter to comments by Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe, who said he found out he was starting over Butler in the Super Bowl shortly before kickoff.
The further the Patriots get away from their Super Bowl loss, the more it appears that Belichick's decision was, indeed, for football reasons. And to be fair, it's not outlandish to suggest that Butler would have a reduced role after a relatively down season in 2017.
But there's still no explanation - and there may never be one - for why Butler stayed on the bench throughout the second half as his backups got torched.
-- By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].