Maybe it’s just a case of a Patriots player toeing the company line, but a pretty surprising revelation has come out regarding Malcolm Butler’s benching in the Super Bowl.
Veteran safety Devin McCourty told NJ Advance Media that the entire Patriots team was aware Butler wasn’t going to be in the starting lineup against Philadelphia.
“We all knew he wasn’t starting all week,” McCourty said. “That wasn’t a secret to the guys on the team.”
Following New England’s shocking loss, rumors flew about why coach Bill Belichick didn’t use arguably his team’s best cornerback for even one defensive play.
It’s the innuendos that caused McCourty to speak out.
“I get why people are fishing,” he said. “The guy played 98 percent of the plays [in the regular season]. I just hate that for him character-wise going into free agency; it’s just not true. As far as I know, and I was there all week, not one time did anything come up.”
Eric Rowe, who stepped in for Butler, echoed Belichick’s original comments that the benching was due to strategy, not discipline.
There has been talk that Butler violated team rules.
My understanding is the benching of #Patriots CB Malcolm Butler happened because of a perfect storm of issues: Sickness, a rough week of practice, and a minor rule violation believed to be related to curfew. A complicated matter. pic.twitter.com/TmUJgkHpsZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 5, 2018
The one-time Pro Bowler took to social media to deny those accusations.
“I never attended any concert, missed curfew or participated in any of the ridiculous activities being reported,” Butler said via Twitter. “They are not only false, but hurtful, to me and my family. Although I wish I could have contributed more to help my team win, I have to get ready for the next opportunity.”
Creating further mystery, Tom Brady commented on Butler’s post.
Butler is a free agent, and it’s obvious that he’ll be seeking his fortune elsewhere.
Three landing spots have already been discussed: Green Bay, Washington and the New York Giants.
We may never know the full story behind Butler’s benching, but you can be sure this will remain one of the biggest storylines surrounding Super Bowl LII for years to come.
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