FOXBOROUGH, Mass (AP) — Cornerback Malcolm Butler is returning to the New England Patriots, where he went from Super Bowl star to the bench.
The hero of the Patriots’ 2014 championship — who was inexplicably benched for New England’s appearance in the Super Bowl three years later — agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $9 million, his agent, Derek Simpson confirmed Wednesday.
Butler, 32, sat out the 2021 season for personal reasons and was placed on the reserve/retired list by the Arizona Cardinals.
Butler was an unheralded rookie in 2014 before he stepped in front of Russell Wilson’s goal-line pass in the final minute of the Super Bowl, crashing into receiver Ricardo Lockette and coming down with the ball to turn an almost-certain Patriots loss into a 28-24 victory over Seattle.
He was a Pro Bowl selection the following year and started four seasons for the Patriots, helping them win another Super Bowl after the 2016 season. But in the Super Bowl following the 2017 season, a game in which New England was desperate for defense, he played just three special teams snaps and the Patriots lost 41-33 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Butler signed with the Titans after the season and played three years in Tennessee before signing with Cardinals for 2021, then deciding at the end of August to step away from the game.
In all, he has 17 interceptions in 100 games.