Ex-Patriots Pro Bowler Seeking Comeback After Retirement: Report

Malcolm Butler Patriots

Getty Former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler is looking to make a return to the NFL.

A former New England Patriots Pro Bowler is looking to make a comeback after a brief hiatus.

Cornerback Malcolm Butler, who is best known for his winning interception during the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks, appears to be ready to make a return. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, Butler is seeking a comeback after retiring just prior to the 2021 season.

Volin also notes how the Arizona Cardinals — Butler’s team during the 2021 preseason — has released him from the retirement list, making him a free agent.

“ICYMI, Malcolm Butler is “definitely” attempting a comeback and plans to play in 2022, a source close to him told me yesterday,” says Volin. “The Cardinals released him from the retirement list yesterday, making him a free agent.”

Could Butler Make a Return to New England?

The release means Butler will be free to sign with any team that he chooses.

The 31-year-old played the first four seasons of his career with the Patriots from 2014 until 2018. He then inked a lucrative five-year, $61 million deal with the Tennessee Titans in 2018, going on to play three seasons in Tennessee.

Outside of his notable game-sealing interception of Russell Wilson at the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX, Butler is also a former Second Team All-Pro selection (2016) and Pro Bowler (2015).

It’s unclear at this point in time if the Patriots would have any interest in bringing back their former starting corner. But with cornerback J.C. Jackson and free safety Devin McCourty free agents, maybe Bill Belichick will consider bringing back a familiar face.

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Report: Patriots Haven’t Talked to Gase

The Patriots may not hire Bill O’Brien or Adam Gase as their new offensive coordinator after all.

According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer on Monday, February 21, the Patriots haven’t talked to Gase about their offensive coordinator opening. Furthermore, things have been quiet in regards to talks with O’Brien, who is familiar with the Patriots after serving five years in a coordinator role.

“As it stands now, Judge is expected to work with the quarterbacks, and Patricia with the line, and each will do so without much experience having coached offense before they became head coaches over the last few years (Judge came up working with the special teams, Patricia on defense),” says Breer. “Which, obviously, is a dice roll given the critical point that Mac Jones is at. (For what it’s worth, I’ve heard the Patriots haven’t so much as talked to Adam Gase about their OC opening, and things have been quiet on the Bill O’Brien front as well.)”

Josh McDaniels had served as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator over the past 10 seasons since his return to the franchise. However, McDaniels bolted New England for an opportunity as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Filling the coordinator role is an absolute must for New England as they enter a pivotal second year with Mac Jones as the quarterback. As things currently stand, Joe Judge is expected to work with the quarterbacks, with Matt Patricia working with the offensive line. In other words, if the Patriots fail to hire an actual offensive coordinator, it would appear Judge/Patricia will share offensive coordinator duties.

We’ll see if the Patriots’ stance on the matter changes — or if they start to gain traction in talks with O’Brien — but as of this writing, New England appears to be willing to roll the dice without an official offensive coordinator.

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