Patriots

What they're saying: Butler would like to remain a Patriot, 'go out like Kobe'

What they're saying: Butler would like to remain a Patriot, 'go out like Kobe'

BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota -- Malcolm Butler sat in his seat in a nondescript room inside the Mall of America and patiently answered questions about the play that changed his life.

There was a reporter from Germany who was looking for him to re-tell his story. Then another from New York. On and on it went for a few minutes, Butler recounting a moment, his moment, that he's recounted countless times for people holding microphones.

MORE PATRIOTS - Dungy doesn't think Pats are best dynasty

No one would blame him if he took a pass on telling those stories. Most of them have to be on the record now three years removed from arguably the singular most important individual play in NFL history.

But Butler has a certain level of respect for the play and what it meant. When people ask, he answers, as if he owes it something because it changed his life.

"It most definitely put me on the map," he said. "More attention. More criticism. More responsibility. It changed a lot. Everyone knew who I was. I had to carry myself a certain way. Everyone watching me. Kids looking up to me. It changed a lot. I'm just blessed to be in the NFL. I came a long way, man."

While about the play -- and talking about it, and talking about it, especially this time of year -- is something that Butler is open to discussing, he'd be OK with having it take lesser billing on his NFL resume.

Does he enjoy talking about his Super Bowl XLIX pick?

"Kinda. Somewhat. Not really," he said. "I've been trying to build, build my resume. I've been trying to move on from that. I want to be a good player without that play. I am a good player without that play . . . Might've came up a little short this year, but I always try to put that play behind me and build a whole other resume."

Butler wore a miniature gold boxing glove that dangled from his necklace as he spoke. It was a gift from someone in his family who considers him a fighter. He's had to fight this season. First he didn't get the deal he was looking for. Then the team signed Stephon Gilmore to a deal Butler would've jumped at. Then it became clear Butler, who visited the Saints as a restricted free agent, wasn't going anywhere. Then he was benched in Week 2.

Now he's a starter in the Super Bowl and he has a chance to wipe all memories clean of his at-times rocky performance this year. If he plays well enough, he may create a memory that nestles in the minds of some front-office chiefs who could offer him his next deal. He's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent affter the season.

"It can be," Butler said when asked if Super Bowl LII could be a cure-all for his 2017. "But this is not about me. Ever since joining the New England Patriots, I just learned that everything is not about you. I play for a team. That's why we win. I play for a team. Everything is not about me. As long as we win, I'll feel great."

Maybe it was because Butler knew his Patriots tenure is likely coming to an end. Maybe it's because he was simply trying to enjoy the moment Wednesday. But Butler was very introspective for about 10 minutes toward the end of the media-availability period. He wasn't rushed. Maybe he was trying to enjoy the moment.

Even when asked about his contract and the uncertainty surrounding his future, Butler was collected.

"At times it was [hard], but we're just living," he said. "We're just living life, and whatever happens is going to happen no matter what. You're life is already mapped out. It's not going to change anything or do any good thinking about it, stressing yourself over anything, man. You just gotta live your life. You're still living. I'm playing the greatest sport in America for the greatest team in America and, just gotta keep moving forward, just live your life."

Butler missed the team flight to Minneapolis on Monday, staying back as he dealt with an illness. He said Wednesday that he was "feeling good."

"I was really down about not being here," Butler said. "I was really down about not being here the same day my team got here because this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and I most definitely want to be here with my teammates."

Especially since they may not be his teammates much longer. Although he said, given his choice, he'd like to stick around with the team that gave him a life-changing opportunity. 

"Most definitely. I want to go out like Kobe," he said, referencing the star who spent his entire career with the Lakers. "I'm not Kobe, but I want to go out like Kobe."

MORE FROM NBCSPORTSBOSTON.COM - Mannix: C's high up Monroe's list

Here's more of what the Patriots were saying on Wednesday . . . 

Tom Brady on being bitten by a dog following a military exercise at Gillette Stadium years ago: "The dog jumped up, and I guess was going for my neck, and the guy grabbed the dog back down, and the dog got my thigh on the way down. I was standing there with a bunch of tough guys and they all saw it. They were like, 'Are you OK?' I'm like, yeah of course I'm ok. But I could feel the cut. But I couldn't say anything . . . Those guys are like the toughest guys in the world."

Danny Amendola on why he was swimming in James Harrison's jersey during Wednesday's media-availability period: "It was my idea. He was very accepting. Mine's a little tight on him, though."

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Report: James Harrison could return to Patriots

cp-patriots-jets-harrison-123117.jpg
File Photo

Report: James Harrison could return to Patriots

James Harrison was a larger than life figure during his time in Pittsburgh. 

It was as if God molded him to be a member of the Steelers: massive, physical, and an absolute bruiser.

But at the end of the day he is a football player. And athletes in this sport don't particuarly like time on the bench.

Mike Tomlin and the rest of the Steelers organization were reminded of this fact in a very harsh manner.

At the end of the December, Harrison made a late season move to sign with the Patriots. It left his former teammates in Pittsburgh frustrated, and his former fans confused.

But at the end of the day he just wanted to be on the football field again. And that's exactly where Belichick put him.

Harrison had the opportunity to appear in many more situations, and had several sacks at the end of the season.

Now there is a new report from Christopher Price of the Boston Sports Journal that he could re-sign with the Patriots in 2018.

A source close to Price and Harrison said "there's a reasonable chance" that he could be on the roster next year.

He will be playing this upcoming season at age 40, and has previously stated he'd like to play one or two more seasons.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

King: It was football, not family that kept McDaniels with Patriots

There have been all kinds of theories of what ultimately kept Josh McDaniels from taking the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job.

NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran offered his here and here. Ex-Pats linebacker Willie McGinest said he was told it wasn't because McDaniels was promised to eventually succeed Bill Belichick. 

Now comes Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who told NBCSports Network's "PFT Live" that you can cross off the theory that McDaniels' reversal was about not wanting to move his family to Indianapolis. 

“This had nothing to do with his family,” King said. “It was about the Patriots giving him a better option than Indianapolis.”

More here from NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk.