On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles squared up against the New England Patriots in a nail-biting game that ended in a 41-33 Eagles win. However, one of the Patriots' usual starters was benched, and head coach Bill Belichick refused to reveal why.
He was asked on Monday about the decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler, and according to ESPN, he said, "There are a lot of things that go into that. In the end, the final decision is what I said it was.”
According to The Washington Post, Butler played 97.8 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season leading up to the Super Bowl.
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NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has since shed some light on the situation, noting that the decision had to do with “sickness, a rough week of practice, and a minor rule violation believed to be related to curfew.”
My understanding is the benching of #Patriots CB Malcolm Butler happened because of a perfect storm of issues: Sickness, a rough week of practice, and a minor rule violation believed to be related to curfew. A complicated matter. pic.twitter.com/TmUJgkHpsZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 5, 2018
Butler had struggled in practice leading up to the big game and was in the hospital twice due to flu-like symptoms. But Daily Mail reports that the key factor was Butler attending a Rick Ross concert on Thursday, breaking the team's curfew rules.
Butler isn't so happy with the decision, as he told ESPN, “They gave up on me. F**k. It is what it is.” He then explained that it was Belichick's decision.
“I guess I wasn't playing good. They didn't feel comfortable. I could have changed that game, though,” he said.
UPDATE [2/7/18, 12:34 p.m. EST]:
Butler responded to the criticisms Wednesday, writing he did not attend any of the “ridiculous activities being reported”:
— Malcolm CB Butler (@Mac_BZ) February 6, 2018
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