NFL Rumors: Malcolm Butler Benching ‘Divided’ Patriots’ Locker Room

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New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler

Photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Bill Belichick’s decision to bench cornerback Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII will be one of the most talked about storylines of the NFL offseason, and it could be one with far-reaching ramifications for the New England Patriots.

An earlier report Monday suggested that Butler’s benching in the Patriots’ 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was a “perfect storm of issues,” with his illness, poor play and a missed curfew playing a role.

However, a different report from WEEI’s Kirk Minihane suggests that Belichick’s decision was not a disciplinary action, and that his decision was sudden and had a severe impact on New England’s locker room.

Belichick noted his decision was not a disciplinary action after the game, but he didn’t offer much else on the issue.

The Eagles, who shredded New England en route to their first Super Bowl title, also were completely shocked by the “crazy” decision to sit the talented corner.

It would make sense that many players would be upset with Belichick’s decision. The players poured more than six months into the pursuit of another title and not having Butler on the field surely put them at a disadvantage.

Many former Patriots lashed out at the decision after the game, and we’re sure this is just the beginning of the fallout.

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