ORLANDO – Add our Malcolm Butler queries to the list of items Bill Belichick sidestepped during our session with him Sunday evening. 


Butler was famously left in mothballs during Super Bowl 52 when the Patriots were allowing 41 points to the Nick Foles-led Eagles offense. 

Butler, who has since signed with the Titans, has been living on the high road ever since . . .

Belichick maintained in the days after the Super Bowl loss that the benching was strictly a football decision. 

Asked by ESPN’s Mike Reiss about Butler at the NFL’s Annual Meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton, Belichick said, “I have a lot of respect for Malcolm. From the day he got here, in rookie minicamp four years ago, he's always competed as hard as he could. He always is a great competitor on the field. I totally respect that.

"I'm not going to get into last year, I'm not going to get into next year or some other year. I talked to Malcolm, I wish him well in Tennessee. Obviously [head coach] Mike [Vrabel] and [general manager] Jon [Robinson] are great people I have a lot of respect for in that organization. I have a lot of respect for Malcolm. We wish him well."

That isn’t going to cease conversation, speculation and irritation over Butler fiddling while Rome burned. But that’s what we got.