NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Before moving forward with his new team, new Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler first took a moment to look back on Thursday.
At the start of his introductory press conference, Butler did his best to explain the circumstances surrounding Super Bowl LII, when he didn’t play a defensive snap while with the Patriots. Looking back, Butler said he doesn’t question coach Bill Belichick’s decision, while saying he’s grateful for the opportunity the Patriots gave him.
“I just keep my faith and believe in God,” Butler said. “And right now, I am blessed with another team. … I am glad to be a Tennessee Titan.”
Butler signed with the Titans on Thursday.
Butler, who played 98 percent of the defensive snaps in the regular season in 2017, started 47 of 48 for the Patriots over the past three seasons. He’s recorded eight interceptions in his NFL career.
In Tennessee, the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder will join veteran cornerback Logan Ryan, his former teammate in New England, and promising second-year cornerback Adoree’ Jackson in a secondary that also includes Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard and veteran safety Johnathan Cyprien.
“(The Titans) have a good quarterback in (Marcus) Mariota, a good franchise quarterback,” Butler said. “I have Logan Ryan here with me – he told me some good things about the organization. And I like good weather – I am from Vicksburg, Mississippi, and I love the South.
“This is a great town. And not only that I am a big Steve McNair fan. I always looked up to him and I always looked up to anyone who made it to the NFL from Mississippi. I feel like it is a great fit for me. … I am here now, and I am happy. And I am going to do anything to help this team win.”
Butler arrives with some impressive credentials.
In his rookie season in 2014, he sealed New England’s 28-24 Super Bowl XLIX win over Seattle in the closing seconds when he intercepted quarterback Russell Wilson’s pass intended for Ricardo Lockette in the end zone. Butler undercut a slant route, picked off the pass and then managed to get to the two-yard line. It was his first career interception, and he said it changed his life.
“More attention, and more expectations,” Butler said. “You become a superstar overnight, so a lot changed.”
New Titans CB Malcolm Butler signs his contract and is introduced to reporters at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
Butler earned a Pro Bowl invitation the following season after starting all 16 regular season contests, and recording 72 tackles, two interceptions and 15 passes defensed. In 2016, Butler was named second-team All-Pro after starting all 16 regular season games for the second year in a row. Butler recorded 63 tackles and one sack while notching four interceptions in 2016, along with 17 passes defensed.
Last season, Butler started 15 of 16 games for the Patriots, and he recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions.
“I am going to bring everything I’ve got,” Butler said. “I have that undrafted mentality. I’m real aggressive, and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Butler said he’s already looking forward to competing against Titans receiver Corey Davis in practices. Davis, as Titans fans remember, caught a pair of touchdowns with Butler in defense in the playoffs last season.
And he’s looking forward to seeing what’s in store with new defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
Butler said he's ready to prove his worth in Tennessee.
“I just talked to him in the cafeteria, and he was talking some things I wanted to hear,” Butler said of Pees, with a smile. “I wouldn’t want to spoil what he’s got cooking, but I most definitely say he has some good things brewing up. …I’m ready to play ball.
“The money is what it is, but I love football more than I love money. It ain't about the money. I love this game.”
TitansOnline.com looks at the NFL career of former New England Patriots CB Malcolm Butler. (AP Photos)