As we all know by now, Malcolm Butler didn’t play a single snap of defense for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and some rumors have been flying around about why. Head coach Bill Belichick refused to give media any real information about this, either on Super Bowl Sunday or on Monday during his press conference.
Monday evening, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media shed some light on all this. He noted that there was a bunch of issues that contributed to Butler missing Super Bowl LII, including his sickness earlier in the week. However, he also spoke of small team disciplinary issues, a curfew violation and mentioned “attitudes, frustration.”
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
Earlier in the day, former Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner shared his thoughts on what the disciplinary issues could have been, though at this point we have to assume he is speculating or is going off of other unsubstantiated rumors.
What we do know is that not having Butler in the game hurt the Patriots. Eric Rowe found out he was replacing Butler right before the game, and he struggled in that role. We also have a pretty good idea that Butler likely won’t be returning to New England next year. He’s going to be a free agent, and it sure seems like he will be happy to look elsewhere for employment.