New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has left Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl LII benching in the past.
So much so that not even the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy could pry anything out of Belichick’s superglued lips in a we’re-both-doing-our-jobs measuring contest of an exchange at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.
Now with the Tennessee Titans, Butler has largely remained focused on his new opportunity.
But he also can’t deny the extra pep in his step that’s come as a result of watching the defense he anchored for close to 99 percent of the season get shredded beyond recognition on the game’s greatest stage as a helpless spectator.
“Most definitely,” Butler told TitansInsider.com when asked if the benching (and loss) has given him extra motivation for his new endeavor with the Titans. “I’m very fueled, and I’ve always been this way. But I’ve got just a little extra gas in the tank, but I’m just here to help my team win and do anything to help us win.”
That’s clearly carried over into Tennessee’s training camp, as Butler dominated Titans wideout Corey Davis in one-on-one drills on Thursday. It was as verbal as it was physical, too, as Butler demanded Davis challenge him. Butler’s fire and intensity — even in practice — is something that’s welcomed by new Titans head coach and former Patriot linebacker Mike Vrabel.
“We want a bunch of guys that are competitive,” said Vrabel. “That’s the type of guy you want to build a roster around. Competitive guys, not just in a football drill, but in life. Those are usually the people that are successful and are winners.”
The Titans most definitely have that in Butler.
With a little help from Belichick’s forever-questionable personnel move, too.