Cornerback Malcolm Butler reportedly will not take the field for the New England Patriots this season.
ESPN's Field Yates reported Tuesday that the AFC East team placed Butler on the injured reserve list. While there were no details about the injury, the cornerback is not eligible to return this season because of the move.
This is an unfortunate development for Butler, who was in the middle of a comeback effort after he retired ahead of the 2021 campaign. He had signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals but never suited up for the team.
New England signed him in March, which reunited the two sides after he played his first four seasons for the Patriots.
"I feel like I have a lot to prove, especially to myself," Butler said in May, per Chris Mason of MassLive. "If I do it myself, I'll prove it to my teammates at the same time. So that's why I'm working hard every day and trying to stay focused."
Yet, as Mike Reiss of ESPN highlighted, he was more in line to be an additional depth piece than a starter:
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
Patriots cornerbacks:<br><br>🏈Jalen Mills<br>🏈Jonathan Jones<br>🏈Terrance Mitchell<br>🏈Marcus Jones (slot)<br>🏈Myles Bryant (slot)<br>🏈Jack Jones<br>🏈Shaun Wade<br>🏈Justin Bethel<br><br>NOTE: Malcolm Butler projected as a backup through early part of camp, adding depth behind Jones-Mitchell combo.
Butler was a 2015 Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion during his first stint with New England.
He famously intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line to clinch the Patriots' 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, but he was benched for their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
The West Alabama product also played for the Tennessee Titans for three seasons from 2018 through 2020. He finished his final campaign with the team with 100 tackles, 14 passes defended and four interceptions.
Now his comeback efforts will have to wait until at least the 2023 season.