Tennessee Titans

Butler says he wanted to confront Belichick and Patricia

Butler says he wanted to confront Belichick and Patricia

The Malcolm Butler mystery gets curiouser and curiouser with the release of an episode of the Sports Illustrated and Amazon mini-documentary series "SI: Under The Cover"  that focuses on the former Patriots cornerback's free agency. 

Butler said while he stood on the sideline during the Super Bowl - benched for still fully unexplained reasons - he wanted to ask Bill Belichick or Matt Patricia for an explanation, but just "stayed in my lane."

“There was times when I was on the sideline and I just wanted to go up and say to Belichick or Matt Patricia and just say, ‘Is this how we’re gonna end this?’ I grew up in the Patriots system and I’m a man of God. I respect my authority and I just couldn’t ask them for something they didn’t want to do. I just was doing my job. I was close to going up there and saying what I wanted to say to Matt or Belichick, but I just stayed in my lane and just did my job. And I really wanted to go ask him, but I didn’t,” Butler said.

Butler, who wound up signing a five-year, $61 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, speculated about a different Super Bowl outcome if he had played. 

“Would we have won if I played? Probably. Maybe. I’m not sure,” he said.  “But I would say we were short about one or two plays, and I’ve seen a couple plays out there I could’ve made.”

Here's a trailer for the episode via SI:

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Dion Lewis gets emotional in Titans introductory press conference

Dion Lewis gets emotional in Titans introductory press conference

Dion Lewis held back tears during his introductory press conference with the Titans while talking about his journey.
 

MORE - Pats reunite the McCourty twins

The former Patriots running back, surrounded by family members, got emotional discussing his upbringing and his experience growing up as an underdog. Today, the 5-foot-8 dynamo no longer fits the "underdog" role as he signed a four-year, $20 million deal with Tennessee. "It's good to have people believe in you," Lewis said.

Lewis led the Patriots with 896 rushing yards on 180 carries (5.0 YPC) in 2017, with six rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.

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Butler: 'I never got a reason' for Super Bowl benching

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Butler: 'I never got a reason' for Super Bowl benching

More than a month later, Malcolm Butler still isn't sure why he was benched in Super Bowl LII.

But he at least has some idea of what could have led to Bill Belichick's questionable decision. The former Patriots cornerback, now with the Titans, opened up about the infamous benching with the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.

“I never got a reason,” Butler told the Herald. "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 could have been anything. But Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time. He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX (against the Seahawks) and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision. It didn’t work out right (against the Eagles). It didn’t work out the best for me or him 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.”

Despite everything, Butler makes it clear he isn't holding a grudge toward anyone in New England as he starts a new chapter in Tennessee.

“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.”

“I’ll always have love for New England,” Butler said. “From the custodians to Belichick, all the way to Mr. Kraft, I love those guys, my teammates. I like everything about New England, especially the fans. Those fans, they really had love for me and they still do. I will always remember where I came from, and I never could forget.”

We might never get a crystal clear answer for why Belichick decided to sit Butler out of the big game. Butler might never get a reason either. But the past is the past, and it's time for both sides to move on as they head their separate ways.

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