FOXBORO, Mass. — Malcolm Butler served his punishment, and now he’s back on the practice field.
Butler returned to practice this week after reportedly being punished for arriving late to organized team activities. The cornerback appeared to be in great shape and saw plenty of reps in the Patriots’ open cornerback competition.
“This is a big opportunity,” Butler told reporters Thursday at OTAs. “I don’t want to mess up, so I gotta prepare myself the best way I can. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Butler chose not to comment on his discipline, though he did say it was tough to sit out.
“Most definitely,” Butler said. “You take anything from somebody they love, it’s tough. But, you know, it is what it is. … I’m just glad to get back here, participating, just getting better, trying to get better. That’s all.”
Head coach Bill Belichick also didn’t comment on Butler’s punishment.
“Been out there,” Belichick said. “Everybody that?s out there is working hard. Guys that aren?t out there, we hope we get them back soon.”
Butler seemed to have the upper hand for a starting role after Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner departed in free agency and the Patriots released Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington. After missing two weeks of practice, Butler appears to be competing for starting reps with Logan Ryan, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain. The Patriots also have Derek Cox, Justin Green, Daxton Swanson and rookies Darryl Roberts and Jimmy Jean at the position.
Butler certainly has the highest upside in that group, but he also only played 220 total snaps in his rookie season last year. Going from being a fifth and sixth cornerback to a starter is a big jump for any player.
Thumbnail photo via Elise Amendola/Associated Press