Malcolm Butler left Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers after suffering a wrist injury, and it sounds like the star cornerback could end up missing some significant time.
Butler suffered a broken wrist and will undergo testing to determine the severity, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.
#Titans CB Malcolm Butler, who was quickly ruled out of today’s game, suffered a broken wrist, source said. He’s going to get further testing to determine how severe the injury is. But a rough loss.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2019
Defensive players can often play with a cast or brace on their hand, but it remains to be seen if Butler will be able to do that.
Butler signed a five-year, $61 million deal with Tennessee prior to last season. The former New England Patriots Super Bowl hero has not missed a game since his rookie season. He has two interceptions this year after having three in his first season with the Titans.
The Cleveland Browns suffered a tough Week 1 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and one Titans player rubbed salt in the wound that has left the Browns feeling angry.
Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry revealed on the team’s in-house TV show “Building the Browns” that Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler had told him at halftime of Sunday’s game the Browns have no heart. Coach Freddie Kitchens fiercely defended his team Friday when he became aware of the remark.
“He does not know our locker room,” Kitchens said Friday, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I am sure some of our guys will read this and I want to be affirmative that everybody will find out what are team has, OK? Nobody is going to question our heart.
“There was nothing about heart with the way that game happened the other day. I don’t know who the hell is saying that, but they really do not know. They are not going to question our heart. If they do, they do not know what the hell they are talking about, whoever it is writing it or saying it.”
The Browns continue to make off-field headlines, with their star receiver engaged in a spat with their upcoming opponent’s defensive coordinator. There’s been a lot of talk from this team, and Monday night’s game against the New York Jets will be a fine opportunity to start backing it up.
The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans have been holding joint practices this week, and you would think that might lead to some uncomfortable tension between Malcolm Butler and the coach who infamously benched him during Super Bowl LII two years ago. However, the star cornerback seems to be handling the situation about as well as you could expect him to.
Reporters asked Butler on Thursday about being benched, and he actually made light of the situation.
Malcolm Butler on SB: “I have no regrets at all. I graded out at 99 percent, one punt return rep. It was great. … I enjoyed my time there and everything happens for a reason. I am happy I am still in the NFL. I have a great relationship with those guys. It’s all good.”
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) August 15, 2019
Butler was also asked if he ever received an explanation for why he only played one snap, and he quipped that those questions are best reserved for “the hoodie.”
Butler asked if he has gotten any answers on the SB benching.
“Where’s the Hoodie at? You gotta ask him”
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) August 15, 2019
It’s still unclear why Butler was benched. There have been countless theories that range from simple scheming to the cornerback getting in trouble in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, but none of that has ever been confirmed. Butler said last year that even he never received an explanation for the puzzling decision. And if any reporter dares ask Belichick about it two years later, we know exactly how that is going to go.
You have to give Butler credit for taking the high road, especially if he was truly never given a reason. That said, he went undrafted in 2014 and the Patriots gave him a chance to play a key role under arguably the best defensive mind in NFL history. Even if his career with the team ended poorly, he knows he probably would have never signed his massive contract with the Titans if not for Belichick seeing something in him.
The NFL’s new extra point rule came into effect for bettors of the Tennessee Titans-Washington Redskins game on Saturday.
Tennessee was leading 19-16 when Washington attempted a last-second final play miracle. Josh Johnson’s heave was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, who returned the pass 56 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown made the score 25-16, putting Tennessee up by nine.
In previous seasons, the Titans would have had to attempt an extra point even though there was no time left and such a play would not have affected the outcome. Had they kicked an extra point and made it, they would have won 26-16. But because the NFL now has a rule saying attempting extra points with no time left and the outcome unaffected is unnecessary, the game came to an end.
The initial betting line for the game was Tennessee favored by 10 points. For those who bet the game when the spread was 10 points, the new rule that did not force the Titans to attempt the extra point meant those who took Washington won while those who picked Tennessee giving 10 points lost their bets. Otherwise an extra point could have resulted in a push.
That’s not all. The touchdown by Butler sent the game over the over/under total line. The total opened at 37 and moved to 38 at many books. The game was under by a few points until that TD changed things.
If Malcolm Butler did something in the days leading up to the Super Bowl last year that resulted in Bill Belichick deciding to bench him, it does not sound like it was anything bad enough to make the coach lose all faith in the star cornerback.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the New England Patriots still had interest in re-signing Butler after Belichick chose to not let him play a single defensive snap against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. While they obviously weren’t willing to pay him top dollar, the Patriots invited Butler’s agent to reach out to them if Butler did not get any offers that he was interested in.
The Patriots made it obvious that they did not intend to pay Butler market value when they signed Stephon Gilmore to a five-year, $65 million deal before last season, but it’s interesting that they still felt their relationship with Butler was in a good enough place where they could bring him back.
There have been rumors about why Butler was benched in the Super Bowl even with the Patriots getting torched defensively, but no one seems to know the real story. Butler said over the summer that he never received an explanation, and the way his former teammates reacted has led to more questions than answers.
As it turns out, Butler is having a terrible first season with the Tennessee Titans. He gave up two touchdowns on national TV against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, and Pro Football Focus has him graded as one of the worst corners so far in 2018. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots go after him on Sunday.
Malcolm Butler left the New England Patriots without ever receiving an explanation for why he was benched for the Super Bowl.
The defensive back, now with the Tennessee Titans, admitted Sunday that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had never offered him any clarity to what has only been described publicly as a coaching decision.
— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) July 29, 2018
“No I didn’t,” Butler said. “Coach’s decision, and if they made the decision here, it’d be the same way.”
Butler downplayed things when asked if he still uses the benching as a motivator.
“I’m gonna fight. I can tell you that,” Butler said. “But I’m past that. I’m a Tennessee Titan and I’m just ready to ball for the Titans. You just got to keep making plays. Like I tell the young guys, a play a day keeps the coach away.”
Bill Belichick did not want to talk about his controversial decision to bench Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl in the days after his New England Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, so you can just imagine how he feels about it now. That didn’t stop a reporter from going there on the eve of training camp.
On Wednesday morning, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe told Belichick he would not be doing his job if he didn’t ask about last season and the Butler situation. Belichick quickly shut the question down, but Shaughnessy wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Things got awkward in a hurry:
WATCH: Bill Belichick when asked about Malcolm Butler's Super Bowl benching, "Last year is last year."
— Ian Steele (@IanSteeleABC6) July 25, 2018
“Every day that I’ve coached here, I’ve done the best that I could for this football team and I’ll continue to do that,” Belichick said. “Right now my focus is on the 2018 season — not 2017, not 2014, not 2007, not 2004, not 2001 and not 2000. I’m not focused on any of those seasons. They’re done.”
It’s no secret that Belichick’s decision to bench Butler has created issues with the Patriots, and time will tell if that spills over into this season. One legendary coach insists none of that will matter once things get underway, but that doesn’t mean the questions about it are going to stop.