Malcolm Butler Not Playing Defense in Super Bowl Because of Coach's Decision

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2018

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) warms up on the field during an NFL football practice, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler did not play a snap on defense in the team's 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Per NFL.com's Judy Battista, Al Michaels said on NBC's broadcast the Patriots' choice to keep Butler off the field is a coach's decision.

After the game, via NBC Sports Tom E. Curran, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Butler wasn't held out for disciplinary reasons and it was only football-related. 

Butler was listed on New England's injury report with an illness this week, but he was a full participant in Thursday's practice.

"Weird moment, it was a weird situation," Butler told reporters on Thursday. "I don't think I've ever been through that before. I've always been here for my team, but I had a great day of practice, was limited a little bit, but I'm more than glad to be back out there."

The Patriots have used their fourth-year cornerback on special teams against the Eagles. He appeared in all 16 games during the regular season and tied for second on the team with two interceptions.

Butler was the hero of New England's victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX when he intercepted Russell Wilson's pass at the goal line with 20 seconds remaining.