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.

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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."

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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."


Kraft quick to show support in wake of Weymouth officer's death

File Photo

Kraft quick to show support in wake of Weymouth officer's death

Tragedy struck the city of Weymouth Sunday morning when police officer Michael Chesna was killed in the line of duty and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was quick to offer his condolences.

According to WCVB, Kraft stopped by the Weymouth Police Department Headquarters around noontime on Sunday and gave them “words of encouragement.”

Chesna, 42, was killed responding to a call regarding an erratic driver near South Shore Hospital and words of support have been quick to come from all corners of the state, and beyond.

“His death is a senseless tragedy & I ask you to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” said Gov. Charlie Baker via Twitter.

Police have identified a suspect in the shooting as 20-year-old Emanuel Lopes from Weymouth has been taken into police custody.

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

Chris Long doesn't put stock in Brady-Belichick drama. "It took everything to beat them."

In an interview with The Big Lead, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long spoke on the drama surrounding Tom Brady and Bill Belichick

It's safe to say he doesn't put much stock into it

I just think any NFL team, any NFL locker room under a lot of stress over a year period, there are going to be storylines people can choose to kind of blow out of proportion or not pay attention to. I think everyone’s going to pay attention to sometimes really small issues. Whatever people are alluding to going on up there hasn’t affected their play, it hasn’t affected their bottom line. It hasn’t affected how they executed on Sundays. 

Long played with the Patriots during the 2016 season and won Super Bowl 51 with them before signing a two-year contract with the Eagles. The Eagles then went on to beat New England in Super Bowl 52. If anyone outside of the Patriots' locker room has an idea of the culture inside the past two years, Long has to be one of them. 

It took everything for us to beat them. It took a heroic performance by Nick Foles and we had to play our best game. So while everybody likes to always point to the Patriots as being under duress or there’s some drama in the locker room, there’s drama in every locker room that you could blow out of proportion. They’re just on top and those stories sell because they’ve been so great.

ESPN's Seth Wickersham released a story detailing some of the issues that arose in New England over the past few years in January, and with Brady missing almost all of the Patriots' voluntary workouts last month, some have started to wonder whether this is the end for one of both of Brady-Belichick. 

While their hasn't been much public acknowledgement from either side about the drama, but Long certainly doesn't see much substance to the noise.