Malcolm Butler discusses Super Bowl benching

One of the big sporting mysteries of 2018, the benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII, is back in the headlines.

On Friday, in an episode of “SI: Under the Cover,” which is aired on Sports Illustrated TV on Amazon, Butler discussed his emotions during the game, his last as a member of the New England Patriots. The 28-year-old, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX just three years earlier played one snap against the Eagles last month, on special teams. He never played on defense, even as Philadelphia rolled up 538 offensive yards.

“Would we have won if I played? Probably. Maybe. I’m not sure,” Butler said, via CBS Boston. “But I would say we were short about one or two plays, and I’ve seen a couple plays out there I could’ve made.”

Take a look through Butler's career: 

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Malcolm Butler through the years
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Malcolm Butler through the years
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots reacts alongside Malcolm Butler #21 and Akeem Ayers #54 after defeating the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks and Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots stretch to catch the ball in the third quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots makes an interception against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 04: Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots waves to fans during a Super Bowl victory parade on February 4, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 4: Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft attend the game between the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets on February 4, 2015 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 07: Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots arrives at Chateau Nightclub and Rooftop at Paris Las Vegas on February 7, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mindy Small/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Malcolm Butler and Julian Edelman poses at the The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
FOXBOROUGH , MA - JUNE 11: New England Patriots player Malcolm Butler at pre-season practice at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 15: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots breaks up a pass intended for Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 15, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 15: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts against the New York Giants during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium on November 15, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 20: New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler at Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 20, 2016. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 25: Malcolm Butler, left, and Dion Lewis of the New England Patriots watch the game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks during the third quarter at TD Garden on February 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 20: New England Patriots Malcolm Butler runs off the field after they defeated San Francisco 49ers 30-17. The San Fransisco 49ers host the New England Patriots at Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Nov. 20, 2016. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 24: New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) recovers a fumble during the first quarter of the National Football League game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets on December 24, 2016, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 30: New England Patriots corner back Malcolm Butler (21) signs autographs during New England Patriots training camp on July 30, 2017, at the Patriots Practice Facility in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 11: NFL Cornerback Malcolm Butler attends the ESPN Magazin Body Issue pre-ESPYS party at Avalon Hollywood on July 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 05: New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) before the NFL game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 5, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Malcolm Butler #21 and Duron Harmon #30 of the New England Patriots defend a pass from Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the third quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots reacts in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 25: New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) at Patriots practice in Foxborough, MA on Jan. 25, 2018. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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Now a member of the Tennessee Titans after signing a five-year free-agent contract , Butler called his benching “a coaching decision that just didn’t work out good for me or the New England Patriots organization.”

A rookie free agent in 2014 who went on to be named a Pro Bowler in 2015 and second-team All-Pro in 2016, Butler said he wanted to approach coaches during the game about what was going on, but ultimately didn’t.

“There was times that I was on the sideline that I just wanted to go up and say to Belichick or [then-New England defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia and just say, ‘This is how we’re gonna end this?’ I grew up in the Patriots system, and I’m a well-mannered guy. I respect my authority,” Butler said. “I just couldn’t ask them for something they didn’t want to do. I just was doing my job. I was close to going up there and saying what I wanted to say to Matt or Belichick, but I just stayed in my lane and just did my job, man. I really wanted to go ask them, but I didn’t.”

The comments are the most extensive by Butler to this point about his final days with the Patriots; immediately after the game he was in tears, saying, “They gave up on me.”

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