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Butler: I could have made Super Bowl difference

Field Level Media
March 30. 2018 11:45PM
Malcolm Butler arrives at U.S. Bank Stadium prior to Super Bowl LII. Butler says he could have made a difference for the Patriots had he played. (USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Butler says he still doesn’t know why the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick didn’t let him play in the Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the cornerback did think about asking why during the game, and he also said he may have made the difference between winning and losing had he played.

Butler admitted to being sick in the leadup to the Super Bowl — for which he was listed on the official injury report — but he still didn’t know for sure that it was the reason for his benching. Among the potential issues were him not traveling with the team, arriving a day later than the rest and missing some meetings.

“I have the flu, nose running, nose stuffed up. I took a trip to the hospital. I didn’t travel with the team.” Butler said in an SI: Under the Cover video, "... Would we have won if I played? Probably, maybe, I’m not sure.

“I would say we were short about one or two plays. I’ve seen a couple plays out there I could have made. It was just a coaching decision. It didn’t work out good for me, (Belichick) or the New England Patriots organization.”

Butler became a free agent at the end of the season and has since signed with the Tennessee Titans for five years and $61 million, with a reported $31 million of that guaranteed. Butler and the Patriots talked about an extension before last season, but couldn’t agree on a deal. Butler hinted that could have played a part in his benching, as well.

“I just wanted to go up to (Bill) Belichick or (defensive coordinator) Matt Patricia and say, ‘This is how we’re going to end this?’” Butler said. “I grew up in the Patriots system. I’m a well-mannered guy. I respect my authority. I just couldn’t ask them for something they didn’t want to do.

“... 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 did my job. I really wanted to go ask them, but I didn’t.”

Butler came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and is best known for preserving the Patriots’ 28-24 lead against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX with an end-zone interception with 20 seconds left on the last play of his rookie season.

It was his only interception that year. He has eight in his career.

He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016.

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