A former New England Patriots player remains baffled by Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl LII benching.
Wide receiver Danny Amendola, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the Miami Dolphins last month, told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss on Friday he asked for an explanation for Bill Belichick’s decision to sit Butler in New England’s 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles but never received one.
“I have my thoughts about it, because I was out there putting my blood, sweat and tears out on the field that night, and one of our best players wasn’t on the field,” Amendola told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss on Friday. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know why. I did ask, but I didn’t get any answers. I can’t make decisions like that, so I don’t necessarily worry about it, but I know Malcolm is a great player and he could have helped us win. For whatever reason, he wasn’t out there. He’s going to play more football in his career, and he’s going to be a great player for a long time.”
Patriots fans know the story: After leading the team in defensive snaps played during the regular season and not leaving the field in the previous two playoff games, Butler played just one snap on special teams and zero on defense against the Eagles. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles carved New England’s new-look secondary, throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Amendola, who caught eight passes for a game-high 152 yards in a losing effort, said not having Butler on the field hurt his Patriots teammates.
“Yeah, I did (believe that), honestly,” Amendola told Reiss. “Nobody really got an explanation for it. He’s a brother of ours. He was a brother of ours that year. And I hate to see a guy who worked so hard throughout the season not get a chance to play in the biggest game of the year and really get no explanation for it. With that said, I don’t know how the business aspect went into that decision. I don’t know how the personal aspect went into that decision between him and Bill. But as a friend, I would have loved to see him on the field that day.”
Butler also moved on from New England this offseason, signing a five-year, $61 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images