Butler: Patriots 'gave up on me'
Malcolm Butler said the New England Patriots "gave up" on him after he did not play on defense during their Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Butler was the Patriots' Super Bowl hero three years ago as his interception of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sealed a dramatic victory in Super Bowl XLIX.
But on Sunday Butler was largely reduced to spectator as the Patriots were beaten 41-38 despite quarterback Tom Brady throwing for a Super Bowl record 508 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots were unable to stop Eagles quarterback Nick Foles dicing up the Patriots secondary in Butler's absence, tossing his third and ultimately decisive touchdown to tight end Zach Ertz with two minutes and 21 seconds left.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham forced a Brady fumble on the subsequent drive and, after a Jake Elliott field goal made it an eight-point lead, a last-ditch Hail Mary throw to Rob Gronkowski fell incomplete as the Eagles won their first Super Bowl title.
Speaking after the game Butler, as quoted by ESPN, said: "They gave up on me. F***. It is what it is.
"I don't know what it was. I guess I wasn't playing good or they didn't feel comfortable. I don't know. But I could have changed that game."
Explaining the decision, Patriots head coach Belichick said: "We put the best players out there and the game plan out there that we thought would be the best tonight like we always do."
Belichick added that Butler was not benched for disciplinary reasons.