Devin McCourty defends Malcolm Butler, says benching was not disciplinary
It has been more than two weeks since the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and we still have not heard a reasonable explanation for Malcolm Butler not playing a single defensive snap. We may never get one, but Devin McCourty wants to put an end to some of the speculation.
In an interview with Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com, McCourty said that any reports about Butler violating team rules or partying in Minneapolis are untrue. In fact, the Patriots captain says the team knew Butler was not going to start.
“As far as I know, all of that is the furthest thing from the truth,” McCourty said. “We all knew he wasn’t starting all week. That wasn’t a secret to the guys on the team. I get why people are fishing. The guy played 98 percent of the plays. 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.”
Immediately following the Super Bowl, some Patriots players said they had no idea Butler was going to be benched. Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston was told that the team’s captains were aware of Bill Belichick’s decision. It could be that McCourty and others knew Butler was not going to start but were still surprised that he did not play a single snap on defense.
“It sucked for him,” McCourty added. “He put a lot of time and effort in. However it falls, the last thing you want to do is not play a snap. To me, the worst part was to see all that (anonymous) stuff come out after.”
Bill Belichick is widely considered the greatest NFL coach of all time, so it’s impossible to believe he thought not playing Butler over seven other defensive backs was the best decision for his football team. But whatever the case, the way Tom Brady and other Pats players have publicly supported Butler says a lot. If Butler did violate some sort of rule, his teammates obviously feel it wasn’t enough to potentially cost them a win in the Super Bowl.