Malcolm Butler opened up on his benching in Super Bowl LII for the first time since soon after the game ended. He went on the record with Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald to give more of his side of the story.
There’s still no specific reason why Bill Belichick left Butler on the bench for all defensive snaps in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots lost 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles. And apparently, Butler never heard why, either – but he has his theories.
“I never got a reason [for being benched],” said Butler. “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 Didn’t Work Out Right”
Butler continued, however, by admitting that bold decisions are nothing new for Belichick. He referred back to the time he himself made it on the field due to a surprise coaching decision.
“It could have been anything. But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time,” said Butler. “He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX … and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision.”
Still, Butler is now coming off a coaching move for Belichick that backfired and contributed greatly to a Super Bowl loss.
“It didn’t work out right,” Butler continued. “It didn’t work out the best for me or [Belichick] 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.”
“It Is What It Is”
Butler also spoke about the persistent rumblings of questionable off-field behavior or issues behind the scenes. Like the now-Titans cornerback said in a previous statement, he reiterated that the characterization of him as a problem for the team is inaccurate.
“Like I always said, New England fans, they really love me, man,” Butler said. “They loved me at times when they shouldn’t love me. I know that, and they know that, too. For the most part, they really had love for me. My teammates, they should have my back because I never disrespected any of my teammates. I never disrespected any of my coaches. I always respected their authority.
“I always try to carry myself in a good way. I always remember where I came from, work hard, do what you’re asked or told. The rumors, there is going to be stuff like that. Everybody is going to have their turn to get got or have false information put on them. That just comes with the territory. But everything worked out well. It is what it is.”
Good for Butler to take the high road, while also shedding a bit of light on what may have gone into his Super Bowl benching. He still sounds as confused as anyone, even after he signs with a new team.
Despite the denials of wrongdoing on both sides and insistence on football reasons, Butler’s benching will always be a move that feels like it was personal for Belichick. But even if it was purely X’s and O’s, the move most certainly didn’t pay off.
The best part for Butler is that the benching didn’t hurt his free-agent market one bit.
— 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.