Report: Malcolm Butler was benched for violating curfew, other ‘issues’
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on Monday morning that there were a number of factors that led him to the decision to bench Malcolm Butler for the biggest game of the year, and it appears that at least some of those were disciplinary.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that it was a “perfect storm of issues” that resulted in Butler playing zero defensive snaps in the Super Bowl. One of them was Butler violating a team rule related to curfew, and others had to do with him having a bad week of practice as he battled flu-like symptoms.
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
Butler did not fly with the Patriots to Minneapolis, and he told reporters that the team had to send a private plane to get him back in Boston because he was ill. Belichick hinted on Monday that one of the reasons Butler didn’t play was that he didn’t practice enough.
The baffling part about Belichick’s decision is that he didn’t put Butler into the game even after it was clear that defensive back Eric Rowe could not handle Alshon Jeffery. Benching one of your best defensive players for even a half of the Super Bowl would have sent a strong message, but Belichick apparently felt Butler didn’t deserve to play at all.
You would also think Butler would sound more apologetic if he was guilty of some sort of egregious violation of team rules, but instead he ripped Belichick with some fairly strong remarks.