Four years after his stunning Super Bowl LII benching, Malcolm Butler is back with the New England Patriots.
The veteran cornerback is signing a two-year contract with the Patriots, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports, per a source.
Butler was bizarrely benched in Super Bowl LII by Bill Belichick, and the reasons surrounding the decision have been shrouded in mystery since the Pats lost to the Eagles that day.
Following that incident, Butler signed a big-money deal in Tennessee. He spent three seasons with the Titans, generating nine interceptions and 35 passes defended. He was released after the 2020 season.
Butler inked a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals in March of 2021 but retired in August due to personal reasons.
In February, the Cards released Butler from the reserve/retired list, opening the door for his return to a new club.
That club winds up being his original team.
Butler was undrafted out of West Alabama in 2014 and rose to quick fame as the hero of Super Bowl XLIX as he intercepted Russell Wilson on the goal line to steal the Lombardi victory.
From there, Butler grew into a playmaker in Belichick’s defense, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2015 and second-team All-Pro honors in 2016. In his final three seasons in New England as a full-time starter, Butler generated eight INTs and 44 passes defended in 48 games.
Even the notorious end of the relationship four years ago didn’t hinder a reunion in 2022.
With J.C. Jackson signing in L.A., the Pats needed corner help. If he’s back to form after a year off, Butler fits the bill as a physical defender who knows the scheme and can be trusted on the outside. But the signing won’t preclude Belichick from adding additional talent in next month’s draft to the secondary.
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