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Malcolm Butler Denies 'Ridiculous' Reports on Reason for Super Bowl 52 Benching

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2018

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler takes questions from reporters in the team's locker room following an NFL football practice, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots are to play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52, Sunday, Feb. 4, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler issued a statement Tuesday calling reports about his Super Bowl 52 benching "ridiculous."

"During Super Bowl week I never attended any concert, missed curfew, or participated [in] any of the ridiculous activities being reported," he wrote. "They are not only false, but hurtful, to me and my family. Although I wish I could have contributed more to help my team win, I have to get ready for the next opportunity."

Malcolm CB Butler @Mac_BZ

https://t.co/yapvjbDy5H

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Philadelphia Eagles (and former Patriots) running back LeGarrette Blount both "liked" the post on Instagram, as the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels documented:

Mark Daniels @MarkDanielsPJ

Malcolm Butler’s statement, on Instagram, was liked by Tom Brady. https://t.co/PHnIO5OxbE

Brady also commented on the statement with a heartfelt message for the Super Bowl 49 hero, via NFL Network's Mike Garafolo:

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

Tom Brady on Malcolm Butler’s statement on Instagram https://t.co/acNVX33mAf

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins chimed in as well with a sly photoshop and a thumbs-up emoji:

On Monday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Butler didn't play one defensive snap in the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles "because of a perfect storm of issues: sickness, a rough week of practice, and a minor rule violation believed to be related to curfew."

"They gave up on me," Butler said after the game, per ESPN.com's Mike Reiss. "F--k. It is what it is."

Head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Monday that Butler—who played a team-high 97.8 percent of New England's defensive snaps during the regular season, per Pro Football Reference—was not benched for disciplinary reasons, per NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch:

"There are a lot of things that go into that. In the end, the final decision is what I said it was.

"I respect Malcolm's competitiveness, and I'm sure that he felt like he could have helped. I'm sure other players felt the same way. In the end, we have to make the decisions that we feel are best for the football team, and that's what we did, that's what I did."

Butler, 27, will be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins in March.

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