Devin McCourty defends Malcolm Butler, says benching was not disciplinary

Devin McCourty defends Malcolm Butler, says benching was not disciplinary

According to Patriots safety Devin McCourty, the team knew the entire week leading up to Super Bowl LII that Butler would not be starting. McCourty, however, says that's simply not the case.

Patriots DT Alan Branch said "I didn't know anything, honestly", when asked Tuesday on WEEI's "Dale and Holley Show with Rich Keefe" if he knew prior to the game that Butler wouldn't play. "We all knew he wasn't starting all week". That wasn't a secret to the guys on the team."I get why people are fishing".

And it is because Butler played 97.8 percent of the snaps during the regular season and playoffs prior to the Super Bowl that has inquiring minds curious as to what caused the benching. I just hate that for him character-wise going into free agency.

"It's just not true", he continued.

"Lane Johnson, I don't know what he's talking about", Bruschi said on ESPN's First Take at the time.

Many people believed the Butler benching could have caused a game plan change late, which is why they struggled so much. McCourty told Dunleavy the widespread speculation contradicts his knowledge of the situation, although he understands the curiosity.

Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles won, 41-33, the question over why Butler, a starter and staple of the defense and hero of Super Bowl XLIX, did not play at all on defense on a night where it was torched has raged on. The coaches said after the game that Butler wasn't in because of game plan and matchup reasons, but nobody believed it because it seemed so insane.

Plus, we all witnessed Malcolm Butler crying before the game. "He put a lot of time and effort in", McCourty said. "You talk about the other team and talk about who you beat, you're bringing up other things".

One thing is that is likely guaranteed though is that Butler will not be at the Patriots in 2018.

The Pro Bowl corner said he was with his family during the week and after the game he told Mike Reiss of ESPN the team "gave up" on him.

McCourty felt bad for his soon-to-be-former teammate, noting the timing of such rumors are not ideal for the purposes of maximizing value in free agency.

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