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One of the big sporting mysteries of 2018, the benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII, is back in the headlines.
On Friday, in an episode of “SI: Under the Cover,” which is aired on Sports Illustrated TV on Amazon, Butler discussed his emotions during the game, his last as a member of the New England Patriots. The 28-year-old, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX just three years earlier played one snap against the Eagles last month, on special teams. He never played on defense, even as Philadelphia rolled up 538 offensive yards.
“Would we have won if I played? Probably. Maybe. I’m not sure,” Butler said, via CBS Boston. “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.”
Now a member of the Tennessee Titans after signing a five-year free-agent contract , Butler called his benching “a coaching decision that just didn’t work out good for me or the New England Patriots organization.”
A rookie free agent in 2014 who went on to be named a Pro Bowler in 2015 and second-team All-Pro in 2016, Butler said he wanted to approach coaches during the game about what was going on, but ultimately didn’t.
“There was times that I was on the sideline that I just wanted to go up and say to Belichick or [then-New England defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia and just say, ‘This is how we’re gonna end this?’ I grew up in the Patriots system, and I’m a well-mannered guy. I respect my authority,” Butler said. “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, man. I really wanted to go ask them, but I didn’t.”
The comments are the most extensive by Butler to this point about his final days with the Patriots; immediately after the game he was in tears, saying, “They gave up on me.”
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