Cornerback Malcolm Butler spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots. In that time, he would make one Pro Bowl and win two championships. But this Sunday, the Patriots will battle his new team — the Tennessee Titans. No big deal, right? Well according to Butler, yes. As a matter of fact, it’ll just be business as usual.
Keep in mind, this will be his first time facing the Patriots since being benched in last year’s Super Bowl. Following the season, he would sign on with the Titans. Those same Titans are coming off a big win on Monday night against the Cowboys. But again, Butler just wants to play football.
“It’s just another game,” Butler told Erik Bacharach of The Tennessean on Wednesday.
It’s just hard to believe that, though. There’s got to be a bit of an edge, there. Perhaps a chip on his shoulder. If there is, though, Butler isn’t admitting to it.
Just 28 years old this season, he has yet to live up to the hype for Tennessee after signing a lucrative five-year, $61.25 million contract. Butler currently ranks 98th of 111 cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus. In addition, he has given up seven touchdowns, 618 passing yards and 39 catches. That’s worst in the league.
Revenge games – whether he wants to call it that or not — could be what he needs to get back on track. If he does, then he’ll help the Titans remain competitive the rest of the way.
“It’s just a game,” Butler continued. “I know I used to play for New England and all of that. I’m not over-hyped. I’m not very pumped. It’s just another game. I’ve got to be ready to play no matter who I play. People are throwing the ball. Just have to be ready.”
That’s a smart way to approach it. He simply cannot let his emotions get the best of him. Especially against the Patriots. We’ll see how long this attitude lasts once the game gets underway, though.