FOXBORO, Mass. — It's been a tough season for Patriots cornerback Darius Butler, who got off to a tremendous start during New England's summer camps but then got benched due to poor play after two regular-season games.
Butler, though, rebounded a bit during last week's practices that led up to the Pats' game in San Diego. The second-year corner earned the team's practice player of the week award, which comes in the form of a championship wrestling belt and is a highly respected honor in the locker room.
After each victory, the coaching staff distributes black jerseys to a handful of players to signify an excellent week of practice, but only one player gets the belt. It's the first time Butler has received either honor.
"It's good," Butler said. "Whenever you go out there and do a good job in practice, it's good. It's my first time getting it, so I'm happy I got it."
In practice, Butler didn't represent any one Chargers player in particular, but he did a commendable job holding down his spot at right cornerback.
"He had a good week of practice," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "He did a good job, got his hands on a lot of balls, made it hard on our offense."
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