Patriots

Patriots

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

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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.

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