HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – The New England Patriots have been facing questions since their Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in regards to why cornerback Malcolm Butler didn’t play in the game.
Former New England Patriot defensive back James Ihedigbo joined John Lopez and Cody Stoots on In The Loop on Tuesday and said when he talked to some people on the team, they were baffled by the benching.
“Guys [on the Patriots] collectively responded that anything that Malcolm did wasn’t that outlandish for it to cause any disruption or for anyone to think (Butler) would not play,” Ihedigbo said of the responses he got from players on the Patriots when he reached out to them this week. “It came as a complete surprise to everybody. People involved also stated that it was just ‘ego and pride’ for (Butler) to not play.”
Ihedigbo played with the Patriots in 2011 playing in all their games in the regular season and playoffs, including Super Bowl XLVI when the Patriots lost to the Giants.
Butler only played one snap on punt coverage, playing zero snaps on defense for the Patriots just two weeks after playing 97% of the snaps in the AFC Championship game.
After the game, Butler told ESPN’s Mike Reiss, “They gave up on me. F—. It is what it is.”
“I don’t know what it was,” Butler said of his benching. “I guess I wasn’t playing good or they didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know. But I could have changed that game.”
Defensive coordinator for the Patriots, now Detroit Lions head coach, Matt Patricia explained it after the game as the defense just not running packages that involved Butler.
Butler was a Super Bowl hero for the Patriots when he intercepted Russell Wilson on the goal line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.