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The NFL Legacy Of Malcolm Butler After Sudden Retirement

The NFL Legacy Of Malcolm Butler After Sudden Retirement


Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs is unable to make a catch against cornerback Malcolm Butler #21 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason game at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Shockingly, cornerback Malcolm Butler is retiring from football five months after he signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

The 31-year-old defender from West Alabama still has some years left in him, especially after an impressive 2020 season.

Butler turned in his best statistical season as a stalwart of the Tennessee Titans secondary last season.

The Mississippi native started all 16 games to earn 100 tackles and four interceptions which are both career highs.


His 6.9 yards allowed per target is also his best within a three-year stretch.

Therefore, the numbers dictate that he is not slowing down.

Despite being at the peak of his game, Butler chose to walk away for personal reasons.

His non-participation during team practices as of late prompted the Cardinals to place him on the reserve/retired list.


It’s not that he is out of the game for good.

But being on that list means that he is not on the team’s roster going into Week 1 anymore.

Likewise, the NFL considers him as a retired player.

Understandably, the Cardinals might harbor some frustration because they signed Butler on a one-year, $3.25 million deal to fill the void that Patrick Peterson left.

Byron Murphy Jr. will likely take his spot, with Robert Alford and Marco Wilson as reserves.


If this is indeed the end of Butler’s NFL run, it’s appropriate to look back at his journey.

It’s a story of ups and downs, triumphs and failures.

He also has a special spot in Super Bowl history.


Butler’s Grind To Success

Butler went undrafted during the 2014 NFL Draft after playing for three colleges in four years.


However, the New England Patriots gave him a shot via a training camp invite.

He eventually made the roster as the sixth cornerback on the depth chart and signed a one-year, $1.53 million contract.

During his first regular season, Butler had 15 tackles, and three defended passes in 11 games.

He made some significant plays in the Patriots’ victories over the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs.

But it was his heads up play in Super Bowl XLIX that placed him among football immortality.


With 20 seconds left in the game, the Seattle Seahawks had a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown from New England’s one-yard line.

However, Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass for Ricardo Lockette to preserve the Patriots’ 28-24 lead.

It was the perfect moment for Butler’s first career interception to happen.


Tom Brady won Super Bowl MVP honors but gave the Chevrolet Colorado truck to Butler because of that play.

The following year, Butler joined his first and only Pro Bowl.

As starting cornerback, he was the only Patriots defensive player to play more than 90 percent of the snaps.

That milestone earned him a performance bonus of around $319,000.

His New England stint ended on a bitter note after being benched for Stephon Gilmore.


He then moved on to Tennessee on a five-year, $61 million deal and played his best football there.

For now, he ends his career with 100 games played, 406 tackles, 82 passes defended, 17 interceptions, nine tackles for losses, and two fumble recoveries.

But it’s the interception that secured the Patriots’ fourth Super Bowl win that will endear him to New England fans forever.